I was born on Christmas Day. When I was a child, I absolutely hated that, but now that I’m older I’m sort of glad my birthday doesn’t get remembered. But Christmas was always THE major holiday in our house, one my mother in particular looked forward to all year long. We all looked forward to the decorating, baking, shopping, and (frankly) gifts, all year long.
As a young parent, I continued to enjoy Christmas and all of our family traditions, but started to become a little jaded: the Christmas trees being up before Thanksgiving, Christmas music in October, the constant exhortations to buy, buy, buy. Like many other parents, I had fallen away from being a regular church goer. And then one year my daughter bought me a tin of handmade Hungarian cookies made by a woman in her small bakery in New Jersey.
When I opened the tin I smelled something that instantly turned me into a child again, standing in my grandmother’s house and being offered one of those same cookies she made every year and stored in a bright copper tin. I could literally see myself standing there in her dining room as if time had been turned back.
So I began making those cookies every year, returning to that old tradition, and now my daughters want to learn to do it themselves this year. And I began attending church regularly again, drawing comfort from traditions, especially around the holidays.
Not many others can say that cookies led them back to God and our Lord Jesus Christ! More importantly though is the power of tradition and memory to make us happy and thankful and even hopeful. In the face of Covid, it is perhaps more important than ever to return to Him who said “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Rejoice in the gifts He has given us. Even if they’re not cookies.