1 Chronicles 16:3 “Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman.” NIV
George Strait “Christmas Cookies”
King David, after offering sacrifices to the Lord, gave each person what amounted to a cookie. Dates and figs were the sweetener of those days. In times of celebration food was exchanged, given as gifts, or as with the story of Abigail in Samuel 25, given as a means to appease someones anger. The exchange of cookies during the holidays is timeless, made even more meaningful if they are homemade. I can’t even imagine how many tins of cookies get passed back and forth between friends.
Some of my best memories of Christmas were the times when my mom made cookies. The kitchen was filled with the smells of cinnamon, nuts, and sugar all melded together in mouthwatering adventure for the senses. For a brief time in my childhood, surrounded by the normalcy of neighborhood friends living in tract houses with laundry on the lines and front porches, my mom made sugar cookies each year in a variety of holiday shapes. My favorite was the Santa Claus with all it’s intricate details. After baking, my mom would mix up powdered sugar icing in a rainbow of sweet colors. Using toothpicks, she let us decorate to our hearts content. Santa, stars, angels, circles. Cookies, powdered sugar dust, and laughter filled our kitchen with a sparkle of happy moments. There were always cookies to eat when friends and family dropped by.
Youngest daughter came by today. She stared at the table full of cookies, asking if we were having a party. Sheepishly I had to admit that I had become overzealous in my baking for the neighbors. I could probably outfit a small country with the cookies I made. I tend to go overboard when cooking. Especially when baking. You would think that one or two kinds of cookies would be enough. Nope. I made 8 kinds of cookies. Yep. Eight kinds. Even sweetheart commented that I better have lots more friends who need cookies.
In my heart I knew the true answer though. I was grasping at the memory of those times with my mother, brother, and sister. I wanted to remember my mother in happier times. When she was speaking to me. When our family was not broken and fractured, spread across the country in varying degrees of successful lives, surrounded by their own issues. A time when my mother had only laughter in her eyes. The smell of baking cookies can take me back in an instant. Back to a time when the only thing that mattered was whether to put red or green sprinkles on the ornament cookie. Back to a time when I didn’t know what divorce meant, didn’t know that I would carry brokenness with me for far too many years, didn’t know that my world would come crashing down around me soon enough.
Once again, my holiday moments are filled with the smell of cinnamon, nuts, and sugar. Covered in powdered sugar, there is laughter in my life. Cookies and coffee with a friend who dropped by make for a moment that will be treasured. Headed out the door to the post office today, I took along a tin of cookies to share with the hassled postal workers. An appointment with youngest daughter’s doctor tomorrow will be another chance to share sweet Christmas gifts. Two tins to the neighbors on each side of us brought hugs and smiles. This morning, seated at my computer, listening to my husband teach a friend about the Bible, humming to Christmas carols playing on the radio, writing in my prayer journal about the joy of these days with family and friends, I think I understand what He has been trying to tell me. The joy, the peace, the happiness comes from the doing. From the time spent laughing with my grandchildren while wiping frosting from their faces. From the smiles I get when giving cookies away. From the satisfaction of knowing that, even though we are far apart, my mom gave me something that I can never lose. How to share love with a cookie.