Be Fed

Henri Nouwen prays:  Lord, just as you fed the multitudes with the loaves and fishes, feed our hungry hearts with the goodness of your Word.  Amen. (Wisdom)

Tasting Christmas

Donald Heinz writes,

Never more so than at Christmas is eating an expressive act that bastes the holidays in joyful excess and draws family and friends together in festive community (Christmas: Festival of Incarnation, 136).

How will you taste Christmas with family and friends this year?

Meal Plans

Alice Waters writes,

Here are a few practices I employ to help me plan a menu, think it through, and cook it.  These are critical for large gatherings and complex events , but they are useful for simple dinners, too.  Once you have decided on the menu, make a game plan.  First write out the menu and draft a shopping list.  If, when you make the shopping list, you discover that the shopping, not to mention the cooking, is too complicated, go back and revise the menu-or see if anyone can help.  Shop far enough in advance that you don’t arrive at home laden with shopping bags without enough time to cook – a recipe for a very frazzled cook.

Who will you be cooking with this Christmas?  How’s the planning taking shape so far?  Any revisions so far?


The Gift of Food

Donald Heinz writes,

The Cratchits’ simple but uplifting meal is the heart of Dickens’s Carol.  The family comes together in want and sickness, but finds reasons to rejoice and even to toast Scrooge.  The goose was small and so was the pudding, but Tim’s blessing and mother’s worrying and the family’s gratitude made it the perfect Victorian dinner scene.  The Dickens dinner would birth public charity meals in England and the United States (Christmas: Festival of Incarnation, 135).

What has it been like for you to receive simple gifts of food from friends and family and neighbors at Christmas?  What has it been like for you to gift food to others.

Being Open to Incarnation

Donald Heinz writes,

Isak Dinesen’s short story and later film, Babette’s Feast, describes what is surely meant to be a consummate sacramental meal.  A refugee who had been a famous chef in Paris but now does humble housekeeping for two spinster sisters in Scandinavia, (and who are) devotees of a severe Christian sect, has won the French lottery.  With every exotic ingredient shipped in from Paris, she spends her entire winnings on the most fabulous meal imaginable, which she convinces the sisters to accept in honor of their sainted father.  The little congregation invited to the meal, together with the sisters, conspire ahead of time to say No to divine delight, by not allowing themselves actually to savor any taste, lest it overwhelm the palette of their sanctimonious piety.  So they manage to miss the presence of God in the incarnation of a Paris chef dressed as a humble servant and giving all she has (Christmas:  Festival of Incarnation, 135)

In our message last Sunday, Matt wondered about how some of the commercialization of Christmas by the Capitalist system might need to be rejected in order to truly experience the Incarnation of God.  But, how might we miss God’s presence in the commercial culture around us by our own harsh judgements of commercial expressions?  Where might we find God’s story in a “secular” scene this week?

Touching the Story

Frederick Buechner writes,

I hear your words.  I see your face.  I smell the rain in your hair, the coffee on your breath.  I am inside me experiencing you as you are inside you experiencing me, but the you and the I themselves, those two insiders, don’t entirely meet until something else happens.

We shake hands perhaps.  We pat each other on the back.  At parting or greeting, we may even go so far as to give each other a hug.  And now it has happened.  We discover each other to be three-dimensional, solid creatures of reality as well as dimensionless, airy creations of it.  We have an outside of flesh and bone as well as an inside where we live and move and have our being.

Through simply touching more directly than in any other way, we can transmit to each other something of the power of the life we have inside us.  It is no wonder that the laying on of hands has always been a traditional part of healing or that when Jesus was around, “All the crowd sought to touch him” (Luke 6:19).  It is no wonder that just the touch of another human being at a dark time can be enough to save the day.

– from Whistling in the Dark