So, this isn't actually from the "30 ways" list, but since it was National Cookie Day yesterday, I, of course, had to start my Christmas baking. Thus, impromptu tip #31: Bake Christmas goodies.
My family fills the freezer with pumpkin bread and many different kinds of cookies: chocolate crinkles, candy canes, polka dots, 10 cup cookies, Snicker and Milky Way surprises, peanut butter cookies with Hugs and Kisses and more. Last night, I opted for a small batch of cutout sugar cookies with frosting – it was the simplest recipe without any obscure ingredients. It's amazing how many little things my mother's kitchen has that I have yet to acquire. Like a rolling pin for instance. Yes. Cutout cookies without a rolling pin. It was ... interesting, to say the least, but I managed.
Advent and Christmas can be like that, as we try to manage increasingly hectic lives. With all the glitter and presents and traditions, we can forget why we do it all in the first place. While we don't necessarily intend to make parties and decorations a higher priority than Christ, our societal and family obligations do make December a busy time of year, with children's recitals at school or that company party that you may not want to go, but it would look bad if you didn't show up. And we make do, for a while.
But the craziness wears on us, and all the cookies, music and people can still leave us feeling empty. Unless we put Christ front and center, not only during Advent and Christmas, but in every aspect of our lives. Even, no especially, in the little activities we do every day. Like baking.
The custom of Christmas baking is actually thought to come from Christ being the Bread of Life. Baking treats throughout Advent and Christmas can remind us of Jesus' "sweetness." Some traditional recipes like Germany's Christstollen, whose crisscross pattern represents Christ's swaddling clothes, make more direct ties. But even aside from the symbolism, baking is a little act that we can offer to Christ. So, turn on some Christmas music, pull out the mixer (and rolling pin!), and start baking.
Read more about Christmas baking in "Keeping an Advent Attitude" by Marge Fenelon. And, the "30 ways" list is available in a PDF.