One of my favorite ways to celebrate the holiday and Christmas season is to eat. Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas hams, swimming pools full of cookies, and candy canes taller than my children – this season is a delicious one. And one way we participate in this season of eating is by opening up our cupboards, taking out our recipe boxes, and pulling out our favorite ones. Some are printouts from recipes we found online. Others come from newspapers, magazines, and cookbooks. And there are those few recipes in our recipe boxes that handwritten (or typed on a typewriter) that we have inherited from our parents and grandparents. One of my family’s recipes comes from Kate’s grandmother and it’s now one of our Christmas day traditions. After the presents are opened, Kate (with help from our kids) prepares fried matzos for all to eat. The recipe is on an index card in the grandmother’s hand. We eat these fried matzos often but there is something special about sharing this dish on Christmas morning. It reminds us how we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. The simple act of eating this food helps us relive, remember, and re-experience the relationships that make a difference in our lives.
Whether we inherit these recipes from the families we are born into or through the families we create on the way, these recipes do more than feed our bodies. They feed our souls and our hearts. We, through the gift of food, discover what our relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. God wants more than us to merely receive the calories we need to survive. God wants us to thrive. And, through Christ and through the church, inspires all of us to help each other become exactly who God wants us to be.
So what’s your favorite recipe this holiday season? And if you had to make a recipe card for your faith, what would it look like? Rev. Chris Halverson of St. Stephen Lutheran Church recently created these:
Ingredients—Baptism, Word, Spirit, Community.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place Baptism in a large skillet and cook over medium-high head, turn occasionally, even until browned.
- Add the Word of God, received aurally. This will stimulate the Holy Spirit.
- Cook for a lifetime.
- Serve wherever two or three are gathered. Community will sustain it and replicate it.
Ingredients—God’s faithfulness, promise, and signs.
- Take half an hour to reflect upon how God has been faithful in the past.
- Take some time to reflect upon all the things God has promised to us for our good and our salvation.
- Wrap it all together in trust.
- Serve through the waters of baptism and pair them with the bread and wine of communion, which will sustain the whole meal.
Spend sometime this season pondering your relationship with Jesus. What would your recipe card for Prayer, Forgiveness, Faithfulness, Mercy, or Hope look like? Create your own. And let’s do what we can to keep these kinds of recipes out of the recipe boxes in our cupboard and, instead, in our lives everyday.
See you in church!