So, yesterday I was mixing up a batch of Peanut Butter Blossoms (peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses on top--yummy!), listening to Christmas music and watching it snow outside. Even though I'm a far cry from a gourmet chef, I've learned a few important cooking tips over the years.
The first rule would be: use the right ingredients (if you recall, I made my Thanksgiving rolls with whole wheat and ended up with brick material rather than breadstuff).
It's also important to mix the ingredients thoroughly. I've always found it kind of fascinating the way individual ingredients, like butter, sugar and eggs, lose their identity during the mixing process. Then add your flour, baking soda and spices--mix well--and you have batter! Once combined, the ingredients can never again be separated.
As I whipped up my batch of cookies, I listened to a radio station that claimed they were the only station in Portland that kept Christ in Christmas. That oft-repeated announcement was usually followed by a modernized version of Jingle Bells, a jazzed-up Frosty the Snowman, or the oldie-but-goodie, "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth."
Sure, they played the traditional carols, too, but I had to wonder at the mixing of the sacred and secular. How were they keeping Christ in Christmas by airing songs that glorified Santa or Rudolf alongside carols proclaiming God's advent on earth? Not that I personally have anything against Santa or any of the other mythical beings that come to life each December--but I do have a problem with the fact that we--meaning Christians--have no problem associating such trivialities with Christ's birth.
It's a mixture I'm becoming increasingly dissatisfied with in my old age . . .
There I go, being Scrooge again (Oh wait, he's another fictional Christmas character). Maybe that's one of the reasons I struggle with this holiday--I constantly come up again the mixture in my own heart. When you grow up with Baby Jesus in the shadow of an omnipotent santa, flying reindeer and magic snowmen, the "real meaning" of Christmas can get all tangled up in your mind.
I love the Christmas carols that untangle my thoughts, weaving them into a unified chord of praise. Here's the last verse of my current favorite ("Lo, a Rose 'ere Blooming):
O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!