I am in the middle of a marathon baking day! I decided I needed a break for a minute. While I've been making a mess of my kitchen, I was thinking of the year I didn't do any baking. My 5th child was born 4 days before Thanksgiving in 2005 (he wasn't due until the end of January). My twins had been early, but our others hadn't been, so at that point we didn't really expect the latest addition to be early. (Now we know better!)
The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas that is normally filled with shopping, decorating, and baking was instead filled with daily trips to the NICU and prayers that our little guy would be home in time for Christmas. He struggled with eating more than expected and just barely made it home in time on the evening of the 23rd. That was the best Christmas gift!
That year, of course, stands out a bit in my mind as quite different from the rest. It was more simple. The fun extras were just that...fun extras, not necessities. The tree went up late, I didn't get out every decoration, and I didn't have time for baking that year. And you know what? We survived! :) Because I'm sure you all know that Christmas isn't about cookies and gifts and decorating. It isn't even about friends and family. It's about the One who came to save the world. But here is the part I wanted to share, the part that I thought of this morning as I made my sugar cookie dough...
Knowing there wasn't going to be much baking going on a with a baby in the NICU, one sweet lady from church offered to take my daughter to her house for a baking day. Sure, of course! Then she asked that my daughter bring my cut out cookie recipe along with the frosting recipe and my cookie cutters. I said okay and wondered why in the world they would want my recipe when I was sure they had a perfectly good recipe and cutters of their own.
My daughter was picked up. She baked, decorated, and had a great time. She was dropped back at home with a pile of cookies. Our cookies. My cookies. They tasted and looked exactly like they always do, made with the same recipe in the familiar shapes. This wasn't just a gift of cookies! It was an unexpected gift of service, of time, of tradition; a modern day foot washing. Those cookies were my second favorite gift that year and probably one of the most thoughtful, Christ-like gifts I've ever received!
*Want to read more about what other are grateful for? Head over to Heavenly Homemakers!