Tag Archives: Holiday

18. good food

Thanksgiving

That holiday evokes visions of turkeys, cranberry sauce, and other sights, smells and sounds of noisy, family gatherings. It triggers memories of the tastes of stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and leaves my mouth watering.

It brings a smile to my face.

Thanksgiving

November

The time of year that kicks off the holiday season, falls smack dab in the middle of my favorite time of the year and well, consists of food. food1

And I love food. Not in the sense that I pig out every chance I get (my body wouldn’t thank me if I did), but in the sense that I enjoy it. I enjoy cooking, baking (especially this time of year), tasting and, of course, eating.

Every year, I try a new holiday dish and make my pumpkin and sweet potato pies…which, apparently, are to die for according to my Dad’s side of the family. Not to mention the fact that Thanksgiving weekend is when I do the majority of my holiday baking in my mom’s kitchen. It’s bigger than mine and, on the plus side, I get to spend time with her and my sister, which makes it that much more enjoyable.

I firmly believe that baking and cooking should be a social event. In fact, I spent this past Saturday baking pies with a friend. Fun times…

My love of food doesn’t simply stop there. It also spills into my spiritual life, which should cover every other part of my life.

Jesus referred to himself as the Bread of Life:

“I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6.35

Jesus had just fed 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. The crowd was excited and thrilled over what he had done and he used that miracle pair with a moment in Israel’s history to “land the plane,” so to speak. Jesus reminded them that it was God who had provided the manna for them in the desert and used that moment to point the truth of their spiritual depravity back to him.

Jesus is the Bread of Life.

He is the Living Water.

What nourished the body, he uses to picture what nourishes the soul.

Only he can satisfy those soul cravings.

We were created to hunger and thirst for only that which can fill us in completely.

Him

Only Jesus

We have a hunger for God that nothing in this world can fully satisfy.

Sure, the things of this world do satisfy…and that’s the problem. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that the “next thing” will bring fulfillment and it does…but only for a short time. And then we’re off, looking for that “next thing.” We all have our own vices and maybe even an addiction. Much of what is of this world can be good in and of itself but if that thing becomes the “main thing” (whether it’s a job, a relationship or a new “toy”), it becomes and idol and therefore, takes precedence over God.

Sadly, many will live life search for “bread and fish” and miss out on the Bread of Life. Many will get stuck in the never-ending cycle of pursuit to fill that void and miss out on what it means to “have life to the full.”

Only Jesus lasts.

I’m slowly learning that truth in my own life and have discovered when I choose him over anything else in my day (meet with him first thing in the morning, choose to pray on my way to work rather than ponder over whatever situation I may dealing with or that of a friend, and putting him first in each decision I make…not to mention my writing), I experience such depth and richness in this relationship and in my life than I would if I didn’t choose him.

Only Jesus lasts. Only he can fill.

And when we embrace that truth and seek Him first, we will be filled beyond what we can imagine and we’ll keep coming back from more, become so satisfied that we won’t hunger for anything else.

further inspiration: a winter bucket list

There is something pristine and pure about a winter landscape. It’s quiet. Peaceful. Serene.

I found myself thinking about what I’d like to this upcoming season (November 1st is this Friday and that is usually when my Christmas music, movie and book collection sees the light of day once again) and, well, here’s a glimpse into the typical holiday and winter things I tend to enjoy…along with a few I’ve either never done or haven’t since my childhood. Here’s to feeling like a giddy kid again:

  • Go sledding
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Build a snowman
  • Decorate cookies
  • Celebrate the birth of Jesus
  • Read through the Christmas story in all four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  • Give someone a secret gift
  • Decorate the tree
  • Drink/Make loaded hot cocoa
  • Drink/Make some  “clean” eggnog
  • Look at Christmas lights
  • Watch Christmas movies…there’s a whole list – including the new ones aired on the Hallmark Channel
  • Watch It’s a Wonderful Life simply because I haven’t seen it
  • Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas
  • Watch the classics from my childhood
  • Play in the snow – make snow angels – haven’t done that since I was a kid
  • Make and deliver treats to neighbors and friends
  • Go caroling
  • Sit by a fire and read a book
  • Read through my holiday collection or pick up a few new ones from the library
  • Start a new book series…any suggestions?
  • Volunteer
  • Donate food
  • Attend a winter festival…St. Paul anyone?
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Watch a play or a musical
  • Attend a Christmas concert
  • Go ice skating
  • Trim the tree
  • Decorate for winter
  • Host a winter dinner
  • Learn to knit/crochet
  • Take too many photos
  • Send out Christmas cards
  • Maybe learn to ski…cross country
  • Go on a horse drawn carriage ride
  • Listen to Christmas music…starting November 1
  • Bundle up and go on a city walk
  • Take a walk while it’s snowing

What’s on your list?

Day 25: Keeping Christ

As I prepared for the holidays, I noticed something different this year. Retail stores always try to stock their stores with things they think will sell well. This year, they did something different. In years past, one could always find an aisle devoted to Nativity scenes, angels and things of that nature, including wrapping paper with words like Peace, Noel, et on them. Instead the shelves are stocked with color coordinated ornaments, colorful trees and LED lights. Wrapping paper has Santa and Frosty frolicking in the snow. What happened? Why are we taking Christ out of Christmas? Are we forgetting what Christmas is all about?

Christmas is not about the latest gaming system or the largest flat-screen TV ever made. Christmas is not about competing with your neighbor for the biggest and brightest light show on the block. It’s not even about colored trees, LED lights and coordinating ornaments. Christmas is about that baby in a manger. Christmas is not about the decorations, the food or the gifts. Christmas is about Christ, the ultimate gift of God’s love for all mankind.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17) (NIV)

Isaiah foretold about this baby long before He entered the world.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)

It’s easy to forget that as we rush around during the holidays. Our schedules get so busy with holiday functions, church fellowships, office parties and school performances. There’s much to be done: shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, etc. Yet, no matter how busy the season gets, take time each and every day to stop, pray and meditate on God’s Word and the real reason for the season. Keep Christ in Christmas and may you keep Him all year long.