Advent in the Kitchen

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This is my first Christmas— in 37 years?—that I am free of singing obligations. Free to spend countless hours baking every variety of cookies that I have wanted to over the years but could not for lack of time and sanity. Such was the life of a professional church musician and caroler. Decorating the church, choir preparations, trumpet rehearsals caused me to eventually edit down my own Christmas. Some years, I baked no cookies and instead, made a Christmas card. My prayers sent in hand-addressed and stamped envelopes. No tarts, no butter horns, no ricotta, no sesame seed. Instead, I settled for the top three favorites, or maybe none.
I loved my work but part of me longed for those days of preparation with my mom: ironing cloth napkins, lining the cookie tins with dough, chopping the nuts, wrapping gifts, changing the cassettes of Christmas music.
So I gave into some of my imaginations with abandon this year. But forever a liturgist, I was so aware that it was still Advent.  So what happens when Christmas chaos meets Advent consciousness?  I found that every task became a prayer. With so many tasks, God was in the midst of it all. As I rolled the dough, I thought about Carole who is spending this first Christmas without her husband. I stopped to write her. I closed the oven door again because the cookies weren’t quite brown enough at the edge but I am patient. I let myself be still, while bowls and spatulas wait in the sink. The sun is covering me with love like the powder sugar everywhere.
Stopping, waiting and stillness is what Advent is about, yes?
Or perhaps it is more about who I have become in between my joyful baking frenzy—reflective, patient, aware. What a gift to find this in a messy, busy kitchen. It isn’t a manger, but it is where I am.

3 thoughts on “Advent in the Kitchen

  1. Teri,
    I was right there with you! You shared it so well, I could sense the smells, feel the warmth of the room and even the moving of the spirit! Each of these sensations present themselves but rarely all at once. Your sharing of responding to the moment of prayerfulness awakened my own desires for a very particular Christmas this year, amid all the previous disappointing Christmas’s past, this year I feel a spirit of abundance, gratitude, peace and joy in the smallest things. Thanks for the affirmation!💕

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