17 March 2014

Christmas in March

I recently returned from a writing workshop sponsored by the Women's Leadership Institute, an organization associated with Concordia University Wisconsin. The workshop focused primarily on writing in a Christian, specifically Lutheran, context. One writing prompt gave us a Scripture verse and an "object" and asked us to write something combining the two. I received Rom. 8:31-32 and "grandmother's recipe card." It is Christmassy, but since we just received 7 inches of snow last night, and the kids are on their tenth? eleventh? snow day of the year--well, I'm not really feeling St. Patrick's Day. And this memory always makes me smile, so I'll hope that it makes you smile, too. Here's an edited version of what came out of that assignment.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? --Rom 8:31-32 (NIV)

Cookies star in many a holiday gathering, but Christmas will always taste like Gram’s punch to me. The whole family would pile into the car and drive the five minutes down to Gram and Pap’s house. We sat in their front room, which they only used at Christmas. The overstuffed couch looked and felt stiff; a fake tabletop tree sat on an end-table pushed in front of the window; and waves of heat rose from the floor vents. We kids shifted uncomfortably on the couch and pretended to be interested in the lovely sweater that Pap gave Gram for Christmas. But, really, we were just waiting for the punch and cookies.
Gram served from a real glass punch bowl, filled to the brim with pale orange liquid, with bits of sherbet fizzing and floating on top. That giant punch bowl seemed bottomless. Ladle after ladle of sweet, fizzy goodness went into our paper cups. We drank until we could drink no more (or until our parents put a stop to our greediness).
The bounty of my grandmother’s Christmas punch recalls the bounty that our Lord showers on us. Gram sacrificed a little time and a lot of orange sherbet for her beloved children and grandchildren. But Jesus gave up all for us—his life for our sins, his glory to be with us on earth.  Often, we get mired in the muck of life here on earth—sickness, violence, temptation, depression. We feel beaten and broken, undeserving of the sweetness of God’s love. But God has already proven that He loves us, through Jesus’s sacrifice. And He wants to give us all things: forgiveness, shelter, peace, and love overflowing. He offers us the cup of salvation; we only have to reach out and take it.
And somehow, I think it tastes a little bit like my grandmother’s punch.


Linda Albright said...

Ah, your post brings back some great memories, Jen.

Wendy said...

It was the parlor, right? The front room? And, if memory serves, it was not a couch in there, but a "davenport." And I liked seeing their gifts!