Saturday, December 12, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Feasting until the Wedding Supper

Christmas 2014

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.


Vee said...

Ahhhhh...a lovely read. Keep on sparkling! I can see The Light all the way from here.

Diane Robertson said...

What lovely thoughts, Brenda! And certainly in keeping with our God who does things "above and beyond" all that we can appropriate that we celebrate His birth with feasting! May you be blessed with peace and abundant joy this wonderful holy season.

Judy said...

A really lovely reflection on feasting at Christmas time, Brenda. I especially love this line, "our Feast as an act of worship"

Several years ago, I heard the theologian, Marva Dawn say that as Christians she believed "we had forgotten how to feast, because we had forgotten how to fast." She spoke about fasting in Biblical terms, but added that part of what she meant was that people had become so accustomed to the easy availability of food that was once a 'special' treat, and that dining out had become such a routine way of life for so many, that it was difficult for them to capture the delight there once was in a celebratory meal. It struck me as true, but reading about dieting though the Christmas season, makes me wonder if there isn't another force complicating our capacity to feast with joy, too - that there is a kind of 'fasting' (obsessively making every meal about my image and health) that might have become an act of self-worship, leaving little room to "Feast as an act of worship."

Your posts are always so thought provoking...

Deanna Rabe said...

Amen! Christmas is a time for feasting! Special treats, lights, joy!

Two of my daughters work at a Christian Theatre that at this time of year is doing a musical called "The Miracle of Christmas." Unfortunately so many patrons are very grumpy and miserable at Christmas time!

I like to enjoy it all - it's only once a year, after all!

Rejoice, for He has come!


Sandi said...

A good, drink, and be merry! Make good memories and celebrate.

Merry Christmas, Brenda!

Terri Cheney said...

My first 'food' holiday following diagnosis with diabetes. I've done all the good things and I have controlled my numbers extremely well. Our family tradition is/has been canned cinnamon rolls (I make terrific homemade but canned is what the family wants) and a special sausage dish. After discussing various low fat lower carb options my husband said "Surely, as well controlled as you are at the moment we could just have our regular holiday meal? It's just twice a year..." So we did. My numbers were fine. Yes, a little bit higher but by no means dangerously so, and all was well. Moderation in all things my granny used to tell me. Indeed.

Laurie said...

Trying to create good memories ( or the start of them) for our 3 year old grandson. A not so joyful Christmas this year, as my Dad passed away to be with my Mom. Haven baked a single cookie, maybe next year.

Charlene said...

I thank you for this thoughtful post. I was feeling sorry for myself as I faced all that I must finish on my To-Do list for Christmas. Instead your post brought me out of this pity party to focus on the Reason for the Season. God bless all of us as we celebrate His birth!

Cheryl said...

Knowing that I am slow to get around in Blogland during this busy life season, Vee sent me your way today (accompanied by the words "Sparkle on!")...and I am so glad that she did!! What joy, what wisdom, what delight shines through in this post! I agree that it is important to celebrate with gusto, acknowledging Him in our celebrating. And "amen" to making the memories with our children while we still have the opportunity, for the ways that we celebrate reveal what is important to us.

Thank you for the encouragement to show His Light in our celebrations!!

Sherry said...

you're a thoughtful mother to consider your children's memories then and now. our first year married a gazillion years ago, we visited three locations in 12 days and covering 2,000 miles (by car) as we were expected to 'be there' and felt great 'obligation.' after that first year we chose to never again put ourselves through that rushed circus of events. as we don't live near family, we've spent many Christmases alone .. the 3 of us until 4 years ago when it became the 2 of us. we invite friends and other folks who have no where else to go, and this year my mother is joining us!

your plans will come together beautifully and i'm sure your 2nd 'alone' Christmas in these 41 years will be one of rest. what a nice opportunity. :)

Mary Sorensen said...

I agree. Counting calories during the holidays is not even a thought for me! The special holiday foods are meant to be enjoyed and they do create wonderful memories. We don't eat extravagantly throughout the rest of the year so we do give ourselves permission to indulge a little. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Angela said...

Yes! Hope you had a lovely Christmas. This was the topic of my Bible reading last night. Your thoughts are spot on. Thank you for sharing and for continuing to blog. I've been reading for nearly ten years... I think. You've inspired and encouraged me as I went from new mom to a more experienced mom of four. Thank you!