Faith doesn’t come packaged | Faithful Living

Each Christmas I crave gingerbread and I’m not sure why. I make gingerbread pancakes, cake and dip, gingerbread lattes, houses and people.

Next week most rooms in our house will be filled with blow-up beds as family members gather to celebrate the holiday together. While considering some group activities, I checked out a gingerbread house kit that included a gingerbread family. It looked like fun, but absent was the enticing aroma. I also imagined chewing with extreme care and calling out for an emergency glass of cold milk to subdue the dusty burn of powdered ginger.

I’ll bake this year’s gingerbread cake in the coming days and my newest recipe includes an array of bold ingredients: powdered and fresh ginger, robust molasses, a touch of fresh pepper, and stout beer. I want to linger with anticipation over that cake when it’s merely a batter, stand over the oven as it bakes to breathe in the emerging aromas, then let each bite sit on my tongue for a moment when it’s cool enough to taste. I hope for a malty tang, a moist dense cake, and a peppery bite from the ginger.

If it’s good enough, I may give it as a gift this year ... the year a whole lot of us have put a halt on crazy spending. This year our own kids are all so busy investing time and money into their own burgeoning lives we have eliminated any pressure on them to give substantial gifts. Instead, we are planning to do things together. To create memories of our own that includes others beyond our family who will be remembered this Christmas with an assortment of treats and small gifts.

I don’t want to become a shrink-wrapped, prepackaged person of faith. I don’t want what I do and what I’ve come to believe about God to become a message that’s dry and nearly impossible to swallow. The world around us is in flux. We are an enormous nation with complex problems, financially connected with other nations facing great challenges of their own. What has always been may not be from now on. We must rethink most everything.

So I’m looking for just the right recipe -— the right mixture of faith to understand the issues facing people around us and energy to to care about those impacted. Let’s make this holiday season about bold, spicy choices. If we see a need, let’s find a way to fill it. Let’s spend time creating memories, expressing support, love and appreciation. Let’s contact people we regularly think about and care for but get too busy to reach out and touch. Let’s schedule times to pray and worship. Let’s reach out beyond our normal routines and associations so people isolated by ill health, financial turmoil, or emotional brokenness will feel included, loved, and remembered this Christmas season.

Read the paper. Read your church bulletin. Talk with your neighbors. Make it your business to find out what’s really needed this holiday and create a recipe for love that draws upon the best of what you have to give.


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