Katie tells me that she has to hide most of the cookies to make sure there are some around for when the kids come over. My response is simple: Why? I love those cookies. I’ve always loved them and the dough too! One of the great sources of love I have for my wife is that she lovingly makes spritz cookies and the dough to taste just like my mother's at Christmas.
Christmas is filled with things that are savored and intended to give us joy. What often confuses us is that what gives us joy is not so much the things we receive, it is that we rediscover the capacity to cherish, to hold something deeply, securely almost hidden in our hearts until something causes it to be uncovered.
I’m not kidding when I say that a “right out of the oven” spritz cookie with spritz cookie dough on top taste to me like nothing else I can describe. And I don’t mean the combinations of too many types of sugar to count. What I think I mean is that combination of past and present and future that at its best we call a longing for home. It’s that desire to re-encounter what ever it was that had a part in shaping and forming us into what we have become.
I know that may sound a little too nostalgic even for this time of year. But let me try to tell you something. My childhood was defined by the aneurysm my father experienced when I was 9. Although he survived, it was as if he became a sixth boy for my mother to raise with my 4 brothers and myself. With few resources and fewer skills, somehow she helped us all make it.
At this time of year I look back as an adult on the sacrifice and devotion of my mother. I learned as a young adult that she saved throughout the year in something called a Christmas club so that our Christmas was every bit as merry as the cousins I so envied. She took in laundry and cleaned other people’s houses. And at Christmas, she made a lot of spritz cookies and she let us eat the cookie dough! Despite her struggles and limitations, she did not allow this defining moment in our lives to overwhelm us…she kept trying. And that, my friends, is what I taste when I have a “right out of the oven” spritz cookie with spritz cookie dough on top.
Christmas is the time when we re-encounter the love that has shaped and formed all of us. This is of course the love of God that comes in the birth of the baby Jesus. This Christmas may you rediscover… reclaim that love that is within you as you sing the familiar carols, light a candle in the darkness and stand with others who also long for home.
Keep the Faith,
PHOTO by Roni used by permission, Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial, No Derivative License.