This is a time of year when everyone feels a lot of pressure – things to finish off before the end of the year, things to do, people to see, family visiting or visiting family. There can often be a disconnect between the things I think and feel and the things I think I’m supposed to think and feel at this time of year…
Baking or any other craft at this time of year can be a gift in more ways than one. There is something soothing to be found in following basic instructions, getting your hands dirty, feeling like you are making something –with tangible evidence of results from your work.
It’s tempting to want to retreat from everything – get away from the commercialization and the crowds, and family responsibilities – then my Christmas could be “holy”. But then I’m also running away from the lesson of Incarnation, the enfleshing of God —the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus don’t run from the secular stuff; but rather we try to transform it.
“There is no evidence of any kind regarding the date of Jesus’ birth. His nativity began to be celebrated on Dec. 25 in Rome during the early part of the fourth century (AD 336) as a Christian counterpart to the pagan festival, popular among the worshipers of Mithras, called Sol Invictis, the Unconquerable Sun. At the very moment when the days are the shortest and darkness seems to have conquered light, the sun passes its nadir. Days grow longer, and although the cold will only increase for quite a long time, the ultimate conquest of winter is sure. This astronomical process is a parable of the career of the Incarnate One. At the moment when history is blackest, and in the least expected and obvious place, the Son of God is born…”
The Whisper of Christmas by Joe E. Pennel, Jr., 1984, p. 61
Bake or make something, there are some suggestions below, and you might like to invite others to share in it with you. Take something in your hands, be present, and find something sustaining in something simple and homemade – what is evoked by these smells of ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate…
Take a moment to sit in silence, however you feel comfortable, and just “be”. Slow your breathing… let everything that’s in your head, everything going on, rise up and then let it go… I invite you to be open to the advent of God.
Try to recapture and be present to some of the wonder, mystery, and believing in fragile miracles that can make this time of year meaning-full and transforming for us as followers of Christ and believers in hope and love born out of darkness.
Ulihelisdi, Bienvenidos, Wominjeka, Haere mai, … Welcome our God of wonder…
Some making and baking suggestions:
This post is part of our November focus on Preparing for Advent and Christmas.