It is without pride that I am able to confess, that I know my way around a plate of cookies. At Christmas time, my Mom always makes butter cookies in various holiday shapes, which, when I lived at home, we’d ice and sprinkle and then consume by the palm-full. My Grandfather always had a plate of brownies on the counter for our Sunday visits, and with my Granny, I treasure years of kitchen memories making her beloved ‘Face Cookies”.
There’s something familiar and comforting about a plate of fresh baked treats, in my family, these plates were edible love letters.
The first year I was married I baked somewhere around 8 dozen cookies the week before Christmas.What started as an inexpensive way to give a gift, evolved into something much more. Friends told me how much they enjoyed these sweet goodies, and as the following Christmas approached, they would remind me of how they looked forward to my cookie plates at Christmas time. So almost by accident, a tradition was born.
Now, nearly 13 years later I stand in my own kitchen, with my children deliberating over icing colors and oohing and ahhing over sprinkles. My girls always want the red sparkly ones, or the Christmas tree shaped variety. I’m partial to the silver dragees, myself.
We joke in my family about how “food is love” and for us, in many ways, it is. The small offering of sweets each year, remind me of the sweet gift of salvation we receive at Christmas time.
In sharing the food, we share Christs’ love with others. I’m drawn to the kitchen to create something tangible that speaks love and friendship. Some years the cookies have been a peace offering, others an outreach, and still most often, they’re just edible acts of appreciation and gratitude.
It used to be just friends who would ask for my cookie plates, now it’s friends and my children. What started as my thing is quickly becoming our thing and a tradition gets it’s second wind.
Turning the mixer on, I stand over it, watching the butter join with the eggs. It’s dreamy, the way the brown swirl of vanilla extract slips into the silky folds of dough forming, I am emboldened by the small power I have to create.
All these individual ingredients fill the bowl and compliment each other as they become one singular thing which coaxes smiles across lips, and brings friends around the table to sample the goods. It’s not that I’m a master baker, it’s that my Master enjoys communion and as His daughter, I share the gene.
The cookie plates we share with friends and family are reminders to them that we love them, that we’re thinking of them–that they matter to us. Baking has for me, become a holy experience, as I often find God in my kitchen, around my own dining table, or in the smiles of my children as they decorate and sample the confections we’ve produced.
The joy I experience as I share the cookies overwhelms me, and in the sharing of these gifts, we find grace for each other in this most perfect season, for sharing God’s love with those around us.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. (1 John 4:14-16 NIV84)