Peace in the Kitchen

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward all. -Luke 2:14

Because of the pandemic, Christmas this year looks like no other. In a typical year, we show our love at Christmas by gathering together, hugging, and sharing food and presents. But this year, we are having to show our love by staying away, not touching, or sharing food like we normally do.

With COVID, political, economic, and racial unrest, how are we to celebrate the arrival of the newborn king?

The true meaning of Christmas arrived in the midst of a stressful census season, after what had to be an uncomfortable ride on a donkey. With the baby Jesus’ impending arrival, Mary and Joseph had to use the tools and space they had available. A barn served as birthing area and a manger served as a crib. A host of animals bore witness to the Christmas miracle.

In some ways, celebrating Christmas this year will be like the very first Christmas. There’s no precedent for how to celebrate in COVID quarantine. But we’ll use the space and tools we have available to welcome in the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Longing to be with family this Christmas, I looked around at the space and tools I had available.

The theme of this Advent week is peace, something that seems to be in short supply right now. My heart is often anxious, and especially so during COVID time. But when I think about where my heart finds peace, I think of our kitchen.

Our kitchen is a long rectangle. At one end is the kitchen speaker. The sous chef always gets to pick the tunes. Depending on the day, you can hear Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters, Vanilla Ice, Taylor Swift, or the Lumineers from the speaker. We all sing along.

Past the kitchen speaker is my grandfather’s Kitchenaid. In the 1980s, he saved up money and bought it for my grandmother. They used it for more than 20 years before she passed and his health began declining. He handed it down to me and I was able to thank him with countless baked goods before he passed away.

In a corner of a kitchen cabinet, under a pile of papers and other important debris, I have two recipe boxes. When I realized that COVID wouldn’t be over by Christmas, I dusted them off and began remembering.

There’s the recipe for Memaw’s cornbread dressing. The recipe for Grandma’s fudge. My mother’s carefully handwritten recipe for green bean casserole. A family recipe for cranberry wassail. My aunt’s sausage cheeseball recipe. And the recipe for the treat I savored every Christmas: Rocky Road Fudge Bars.

Living life at a breakneck speed means that I haven’t taken time to make most of these recipes myself. But this year, my heart finds peace in the kitchen remembering my family with love as I cook their recipes.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward all. -Luke 2:14

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