Friday, November 20, 2009

Advent Season: Just for Joy

I don't know how my old rolling pin went into the car on that day in late June. It was a crazy mix of the planned, the unplanned, and the unimaginable. We had sold our house and the closing came sooner than expected. We scrambled to move ourselves out and clean the house in two weeks. Most of our things went into storage, since we would be staying with family in the interim period. We took only the things we needed for the summer: clothing, Bibles, shoes, essential files, and a few dishes.

Or so we thought.

How did my rolling pin go in? I have no answer. No explanation, except that perhaps a Christmas angel slipped it in quietly while I was having a coffee break before the kitchen box was taped shut.

I've had the rolling pin for as long as I've had children. It has rolled out cookie dough every Christmas for twenty-five years. We've cut, baked, and decorated our signature cookies each year with a recipe that has been in the family since the mid-1800's. We've done other types of cookies, too, but these are the showcase cookies -- pretty shapes, colorful icing, decorations, drawing ooh's and aah's.

I wasn't going to make them this year. The house we're living in isn't our own. The cookies make a lot of work. They make a mess. It didn't seem wise. I wouldn't have my usual equipment -- cookies cutters, decorating supplies, pans, etc. I certainly wasn't going to buy all of it again. Did my grown children really need cookies? Wasn't Christmas just about Jesus? Surely, we could do without, if by some strange twist of fate we were still in North Carolina in December.

This is why I couldn't figure out how the rolling pin turned up in the kitchen supplies. That's odd. How did that happen? I wondered. In July, our grandma gave us snowflake cookie cutters. In October, a good friend sent cookie-decorating supplies. No, we hadn't talked about it. How did she know? Then last week, I talked to my college son, who is looking forward to being with us over the holiday.

He said, "We have to make cookies." No question about it. Could I tell him no? Of course not.

I had no idea it mattered. Sometimes God prepares for us before we have any idea of our need. I didn't expect to be here for Christmas. I didn't think my sons cared about the cookies. I didn't think we'd need to make it feel more like home.

But God knew, didn't he?

It gets even better. Last week, I was wondering whether or not I should buy a few more cookie cutters. I could have asked for the money, but I didn't want to spend it on something that wasn't essential. For some reason, I felt like I should clean out my purse. There, in an old envelope, was some gift money I'd forgotten about. That same day, I stumbled across a box of 15 cookie cutters for a great price. This is it. You can do this without any concern for the budget, just for the sake of joy, the thought went through my head.

Just for the sake of joy. I stood still. Does God really care about this? Isn't he busy with more important things? Then suddenly, I understood. What we carry in our hearts is the important thing. It matters that I open my heart and my hands to create for my family the cheer they long for right now. Yes, it matters.

Snowflakes, the homemade kind, were falling from the sky, again. Just for joy.


  1. Beautifully written. I love the conclusion...

  2. Oh! How absolutely wonderful!!

    The mystery of the rolling pin :) how 'twas placed by an angel.

    There's nothing like a well-seasoned and beloved rolling pin. I remember when my husband and I were married and the one kitchen tool that just had to be authentic ~ it was the rolling pin. I had so many memories of standing at my mother's elbow and watching her use the old rolling pin and, at times, being granted the privilege of rolling out smooth pie crusts myself, so not just any sort would do for me. It had to have a worn but clean look and feel to it and it had to spin easily. We found one, a used one. A perfect one.

    How happy that yours has appeared! :)

  3. Beautiful! Makes me want to make cookies with the children right now.

  4. Love this post. Yes - just for the sake of joy. I do believe God delights in blessing us with things just for the sake of joy - pure joy and happiness. I look forward to doing some baking with my family. We do bon-bons this time of year and the whole family helps. We're also making some snowman cookies. And I may even pull out the old-fashioned sugar cookie recipe that used to be our tradition in making some for our family. We stopped making those. But we started making bon-bons. I think we'll do both this year! :)

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Happy Baking!


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