‘Tis the season…to relish the simple joys and extravagant gifts the Lord has filled our lives with…three of our favorites being Family, Friends, and Food!

Memories flood in of cozy nights and days nestled in our homes with laughter, snacks, games, fireplace crackling (or pouring smoke profusely into my house – it depends on which memory)…a silly family talent show, reading Advent devotions around lit candles, skyping with relatives far away, wrestling strings of obstinate Christmas lights (very calmly and serenely, I assure you) while watching “White Christmas” for the umpteenth time…always getting along in perfect harmony, peace on earth, good will to men. 🙂 Through it all, we are cementing these lasting, meaningful memories of what Christmas means into the hearts and minds of all our generations.

And what about our dear, true friends? Life would not be the same without them! However many you have, cherish them! This is the perfect time of year to find ways to make them a priority and express how much they mean to you. Worshiping together, caroling in the cold, preparing homemade gifts for others, shopping, putting up another friend’s Christmas decorations when she can’t, planning surprises, receiving surprises, sparkly outings, excited children, serving special meals, goofy white elephant gift exchanges, sharing recipes and EATING together!! These are a few of the memories we share with our bosom buddies from holidays of yore.

Speaking of food (and we were, weren’t we?), have you ever stirred cut-up chunks of old-fashioned gumdrop orange slices into your chocolate chip cookies? Mmmm…that says Christmas at our house! White chocolate popcorn and pretzels, sausage balls, bubbling wassail on the stove, spinach dip, cranberry coffeecake, fireside coffee, green chili cheese ball, pumpkin-anything, fudge…did I mention D’Ann’s gingersnaps?!  (See recipe below!!) I better go get busy! 🙂 The holidays may elicit a whole different set of delectable desires for you and yours. What speaks “Christmas” to your loved ones’ tummies and hearts? Go make some delish culinary memories for those tastebuds God gave us to enjoy!

Each of us has our own personal little sphere of lives and hearts to touch. Don’t pine and whine for what you don’t have this season – get the Christmas reference?  🙂 – instead thank God for the people and the things and the extraordinary giftings you do have. Pour yourself into nourishing and nurturing right where you are and watch God multiply it while He magnifies Himself.

Let’s take the time in these coming weeks to slow down, be present to those near and dear to us, look into each other’s eyes, absorb the warmth of the festive lights and fragrances and music and flavors, and laugh a lot. Our fellowship is full of beautiful, incredible, life-giving, Christ-centered women – each of you!! Let’s be a sisterhood of Kingdom women who learn how to cultivate an atmosphere of celebration that comes from our abundant hearts, not necessarily from an abundance of costly decorations, or perfectly designed crafts (thank you, Pinterest!), or lavish piles of presents. Many love-filled Christmas blessings, joy, and peace be upon you as we embrace some of the best parts of the holidays – our treasured families (immediate and extended), our precious friends, and a yummy array of food to share!

D’Ann Cypert’s Famous Gingersnaps

(none better in the whole wide world)

¾ cup butter-flavored Crisco (now you see why!)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

¼ cup molasses

2 cups sifted flour

1 Tbls. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. salt

sugar to roll in (no, not you – the balls of dough!)

Cream Crisco & sugar together. Add egg and molasses. Sift flour with other dry ingredients, then add one cup at a time. Mix well. Shape dough into large marble-sized balls. Roll in sugar. Place 1” apart on cookie sheets. Do not flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Makes 3-4 dozen.

This post was written by Jill Brown, loving wife to Greg Brown, an elder at Harvest Christian Fellowship, incredible mom to two amazing young men, Levi and Luke, devoted teacher at Plainview Christian Academy and a loyal friend to all she meets.