Preserving a Legacy of Family, Faith, and Food – November 1 – December 31
Written by Jennifer Slattery
Talk to a child about Christmas, and it won’t be long before they spout off a long list of I-wants. Talk to that same child ten, maybe twenty years later about their Christmas memories, and I doubt few will recall the gifts received. Instead, they’ll remember the faces gathered around the dinner table, the songs that played while they opened their gifts, and perhaps the scents that filled the church sanctuary as they fell asleep on Grandma’s shoulder.
This certainly is the case for me, and all those memories, created year after year, mean more to me than a thousand gifts piled under the tree. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, so we spent little time in the mall. Instead, we gathered in my mother’s tiny kitchen, elbow-to-elbow, with baking ingredients and craft supplies spread before us. We made cookies, and fudge, and goofy little salt-dough ornaments that looked as if they’d been stepped on a few times. But to us, they were wonderful, because we made them. We poured our little five, six, and ten year old hearts into each and every one while mother watched with a soft yet contented smile.
A smile I now wear as I watch my daughter mix and stir and bake cookies, and candies, and other treats as we follow in the tradition my mother started some thirty-eight years ago. Only this year, we added a twist. Wanting to show my daughter the true meaning of Christmas—wanting her to understand the true gift that came down on Christmas morning—I turned our gift-making into a way to reach out to our neighbors with the love of Christ.
We purchased inexpensive tins and filled them with homemade goodies, then we printed out a poem explaining the gift of Jesus Christ. We rolled the poem, tied it with ribbon, and stuck it in the goodie basket. Then, quiet as a mouse, we scurried across the street, dropped it on our neighbor’s doorstep, and ran.
Once back inside, we watched from our window, praying our neighbors opening their lovingly-made gift would catch a glimpse of the true meaning of Christmas—that they would receive the best gift of all, salvation offered through the Son.[tooltip]Jennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her husband of seventeen years and their fifteen-year-old daughter. She loves seeing broken lives transformed by grace. She writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, and writes for the ACFW Journal, the Christian Pulse, Internet Café Devotions, and Jewels of Encouragement. You can find her online at her devotional blog: Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud. [/tooltip]