When the Christmas season begins I start planning our holiday meals and decide on what goodies I want to make. Baking has become one of my favorite pastimes, and I especially enjoy it when I have something special to bake for. So many important memories are made around food at Christmas time. We make caramel cake, pies, gingerbread, Santa’s hat floats, roasted pecans, peanut butter balls, and of course sugar cookies. While we create these yummy dishes, we are also cultivating something more important.
This blue bowl has significance to me beyond its usefulness and retro style. It was my Granny Rene’s. She gifted it to me and I tell her frequently how much I treasure it. She used it for just about everything. I have memories of watching her in the kitchen as a very young girl, and as I grew older and more coordinated, she stood behind me, with her hands guiding mine to help me stir.
I think the closeness I felt to her in these moments was the reason I wanted to explore my own baking creativity as a young girl. My brave mother never hesitated to allow me to make messes in the kitchen. Even if the food ended in a “flop,” she still encouraged my imagination and I felt her love in her unending patience. I learned early in my life that preparing food is a significant responsibility. The women who brought me into their kitchens taught me the beauty of feeding my loved ones. Meals can be an expression of a woman’s calling and an outlet to display the artistry of nurturing.
Now that I am a wife and mother, I always think of Mary at Christmas. Her story is fascinating. For years, I imagined her in a mystical, almost fairytale state. She always looked so clean, pretty, and perfect in our storybook Bibles and Nativity set. But she was as real and as human as me. I’m sure she worried about the same things that fill my mind. I think of all the similarities in our daily tasks. Washing clothes, midnight feedings, kissing boo-boos, preparing meals, all while she stood face to face with the Creator of the universe. As she soothed her babies and fed her family, she nurtured our Savior. What a paradox! She fed the One who would be the Bread of Life and be the Living Water.
The role of preparing food is sacred. Not just because it echoes Mary and every mother who has selflessly served, but because it is a picture of our Heavenly Father feeding us. He nurtures our souls, He prepares a table before us, He knows the plans He has for us, and He has filled the hungry with good things. His love can pour from us onto our family as we joyfully and intentionally cook meals. As His children, we fulfill our purpose by pointing those around us to His glory and how He sustains us. As I mix up my goodies in my little blue bowl from Granny, I thank the Lord for all the meals prepared in it. I marvel that He created us with tastebuds to savor such delicious food. And I rejoice as He reminds my soul of His love through Jesus.
By Anna Chamblee