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         JUST THINKING OUT LOUD

                                       by Carolyn Stevens

A JOY-FILLED CHRISTMAS

 
Are you all ready for Christmas? That is a frequently asked question this time of year. A few people may answer: “Sure, I started my shopping in July so I’m all done.”  Even fewer might answer: “Oh we have our tree up already and the house is all trimmed, but maybe there might be some little thing not done yet.” Have you made the Christmas cookies?

Christmas cookies are a big part of all Christmas traditions, remember, we even have Great Great Great Grandma’s recipe! There is still time to make them if we get everything together and have enough help. First ingredient : lard or butter. Oh that is too much cholesterol!  Let’s substitute that new Crisco. It should not even have triglycerides. Next comes sugar, dark Karo syrup,  molasses and eggs.

Now we need a big bowl. No, not the big one with the electric mixer, that won't do We need one at least four times that big! Next we need two strong boys. Great Grandma had to test to be sure their muscles were strong enough. Oh, they grow so fast they really are strong enough!  OK, they can start stirring the eggs and the sugar  together. It is best to take turns because it takes a lot of stirring. When that is mixed good, it is time to pour in the Karo and molasses. Tip the bottles up and let the syrup drip into the bowl. That takes some time and patience. Each boy can hold a bottle until every drop is in the bowl. Now more stirring.  

While all this is going on Daddy and Grandpa are out on the patio cracking Japanese walnuts. They look best because they come out perfect little hearts when they are carefully cracked and opened. “Ouch” somebody hit a thumb!

Meanwhile back in the kitchen somebody stirred a little too hard and there was a spill, and somebody said “I’m sorry.”  Somebody else said: “That’s Ok, I’ll help clean it up” After all that stirring,  it is time for the flour with a little baking powder mixed in and the buttermilk with a little bit of baking soda mixed in it. Oh, that is going to get hard to stir; maybe we can find two bigger boys to take over  the stirring. Sure, there they are and Great Grandma doesn’t even have to test their muscles, they certainly are strong enough.

 While they are doing that the girls are carefully measuring the spices, OOPS some got spilled ! “Don’t be so clumsy “. Now some of the flour got spilled. “ Hey man, you stir too hard”. “Well I couldn’t help it you stepped on my toe”.  Now somebody wants to quit. They didn’t get a turn yet! 

What is going on here? Aren’t these supposed to be Christmas cookies?   Why did Jesus come to make the first Christmas?  Wasn’t it because we all make mistakes? Did you know that mistakes is another word for sin?  Oh, but the mistakes mentioned above are just little things that happen every day; do we have to call them sins?  

Yes we do! Remember the fact that Aunt Martha does not come to the family Christmas party any more, and do you know why?  Several years ago cousin Jo said something that hurt her feelings. She can’t seem to forget that, and that is why Jesus had to come to this earth to be our Savior!!!  We all say words that we do not even realize might hurt somebody’s feelings and we all find it hard to forget when somebody hurts our feelings. Jesus came to forgive all sins--from hurt feelings to the very worst of sins. He paid the price for all our mistaken sins. Unless we have Jesus right with us all the time, we can not be prepared for Christmas. He is the whole reason for the Joy of Christmas.

Jesus became our substitute when He died on the cross for our sins. Then He sent His Holy Spirit to help us forgive each other  and love each other in spite of our mistakes and sins. Now we can still finish those Christmas cookies. While we finish the stirring and rolling out and cutting out the shapes and the baking, we can sing Christmas carols. Let’s start with :”Joy to the world”  Now it your turn to chose the next song.

We will rejoice in the Lord always

  

*Carolyn has been working with the LWML since the early 1960s. She has served in local, zone and district, working most often in the Inspiration and Education departments. Carolyn has written devotions, Bible studies and skits. Some of her articles have found their way to the LWML catalog. Her prayer books and devotions have also been published by the Lutheran Braille Workers.  Carolyn can be reached at papa_hotel@hotmail.com.

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