I don't see it quite as often as I did a few years ago but once in awhile... as I am standing in the line at the grocery store... there it is. A glossy magazine cover with an article about low fat Christmas meals or low calorie New Year's celebrations.
Now, I know magazine editors have to come up with something to grab people's attention for every issue but this is just plain silly. For if there is ever a season to Feast... this is it! Not every day (for then we do enter January needing the over sized sweatshirts) but one or two or perhaps even three feast meals from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day are part of what making memories is all about.
Years from now, our grandchildren will not recall Grandmother's wonderful carrot and celery salad. They will remember baking cookies with her during that special once-a-year afternoon in her kitchen. For it is at this time of year more than any other that we tend to take the food stained favorite recipes out of the card file.
Food is a big deal at the Holidays. It is a part of our very special forever memories. For instance, I made dressing for Thanksgiving just the way my mother made it (and most probably using her mother's recipe). I didn't just call it "dressing". No, it is called "Mamaw's dressing". I think of her as I make it each Thanksgiving.
As with everything, there needs to be a balance. Moderation in all things as they say. It is especially important for those of us who must watch carbs that we eat carefully in the days (and after) leading up to a Feast... or a party... or the day we bake cookies. For we know we will eat a few!
But that does not mean there is no Feasting at all during this season. Let the magazines be full of low fat and low calorie recipes come January. The real food challenges we face in modern times is in the way most of us eat the rest of the year, anyway.
As we know, the Bible talks about the Feast Days. They were God's idea. It was then they enjoyed the fatted calf. Not every day. Here we are thousands of years later reading about those meals and the joy that surrounded those special days. Part of what made them special was the anticipation of the food they were to enjoy on each Feast Day.
This is the Season for making memories. You will only have Christmas 2015 once in your life. The years fly by. This Christmas, my husband and I will be alone for only the second time in 41 years of marriage. We are still celebrating Christmas with Mr. & Mrs. Christopher but after the actual day. The timing was my idea, later rather than squeezing in a night before they leave on a long planned vacation.
My daughter's family and the grandchildren will celebrate Christmas in New England. We learned long ago that traveling between our houses in winter is not a good idea. So we plan to see each other in warm weather. I can give my children the freedom not to be here at Christmas because I realized long ago that it was important to make memories when they were in our home.
If you still have children at home... make it a good memory.
It is the perfect month of the year (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere) to serve the hot chocolate with special Christmas cookies and cozy up together to watch favorite Christmas movies. Even if the toddler gets milk in a sippy cup to feel a part of the celebration.
Roast the goose or the turkey or the ham or the vegetarian equivalents, bring out the butter, bake great grandmother's special cake... serve them on pretty plates if you have them. This is the time to use the china and the crystal and the silver and the pretty napkins... and the stains on the white tablecloth will usually come out if you soak it overnight.
This is the season of rejoicing and celebration. For there is a really really good reason to celebrate. Jesus was born and lived the perfect life and became the sacrificial lamb. Yes, Easter is coming. Good Friday will be here soon enough. But this time of year, we celebrate the star and the angels and the shepherds and the wise men and most of all... that little family in the manger.
This Christmas may find you alone or (as in our home) just the two of us. This may be the first Christmas with an important person missing from the table for various reasons... a death in the family, a soldier serving in another part of the world, a loved one in a nursing home or a hospital... it is part of life. Most of us have known those bittersweet Holiday seasons.
However, remember this... someday there will be a Wedding Feast. Until That Day. While we still live in imperfection. Christmas gives us permission to sparkle a little. To embrace life. Even when it is far from perfect. To look at our Feast as an act of worship to the Giver of all good gifts.
To enjoy life... not as we want it to be... but how it is at the moment. For if we wait until that Day to sparkle, our world will not see His Light shining through us. Enjoy.