The other morning, I was driving through one of the neighborhoods in Canyon. It was a perfect fall morning. The colors on the trees just about took my breath away. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen colors like that before. Has anyone else noticed how rich the colors are on the leaves this year?

It made me think about my childhood and my family’s Thanksgiving meal. The formal dining room table would be decorated, the fine china, crystal, and silver would be perfectly placed, and the smells of the best food I’ve ever had would fill my grandparent’s house. My mom’s mother, “Mama,” would be wearing her apron, her pearls, red lipstick, and heels. This was her day. She was the best cook. Her rolls were famous at every family meal. They were the most perfect things I’ve ever put in my mouth. We all hoped there would be some left over so that we could eat them for breakfast the next morning.

As I thought about how gorgeous the leaves on the trees were, it occurred to me that they are most beautiful when (in actuality) they are dying. However they MUST go through this dying process so that there will be new life in the spring. I thought about the Apostle Paul saying, “To live is Christ, but to die is gain.” I thought about Jesus explaining to His disciples that if we do not die to ourselves (our sinful nature), then we will not experience the abundant and glorious new life that He intends for each of us. I thought about the beauty of the Cross, and what it represents: freedom, forgiveness, righteousness, grace, mercy, eternal life.

Death is not something we would normally define as “beautiful.” Our community has experienced four untimely deaths in the past four months. From my human heart’s perspective, there is nothing beautiful about that. However, I have watched as the Body of Christ has come together, prayed for, taken care of, and carried these families who are hurting. God has revealed His goodness in various ways, and that is beautiful.

All of us struggle with dying to our own sinful nature on a daily basis. But when we do, God is faithful to reproduce a harvest of good fruit so that His kingdom will be glorified. Sometimes the only way we can see the beauty in death is to see it from a Kingdom perspective.

I was by Mama’s side when she breathed her last breath here on earth. It might be one of the most spiritual moments I’ve ever experienced. It was the first time I witnessed someone go from glory to glory, from this earthly life to eternal life. She has a new body and is with her Father. That is beautiful.

This holiday season, I would encourage you to live fully in this amazing time we have here on earth. Love your family, thank God for all He has done, and die to the things that quench the Spirit in your life. Look ahead to the abundant life that is awaiting you!

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Mama’s Rolls

Ingredients:

1 ½ sticks of butter, plus another stick to brush over rolls
¾ c. sugar
2 dry yeast packets (Fleischmann’s), dissolved in 1 C. lukewarm water
3 eggs-beaten
1 c. boiling water
1 tsp. salt
5 c. flour

Dissolve yeast and set aside. Beat eggs and set aside.

Using a large glass mixing bowl, almost melt butter in the microwave, then add sugar and mix. Pour 1 c. of boiling water over butter and sugar. Set this aside until cooled, then add eggs, yeast mixture, and salt. Add flour last, 1 c. at a time. Cover with wax paper that has Crisco on it, and seal around the edges of the bowl. Refrigerate for 24 hours so it can rise.

When ready to roll out, take part of the dough, roll out on a floured surface and use a round biscuit cutter to cut into circles. Fold over each roll and put in a glass pyrex sprayed with cooking spray. (They should all be touching.) Brush all with melted butter. Let them rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

This makes enough for up to three 9X13 pyrex dishes, depending on the size you cut them. You can use only part of the dough and keep the rest refrigerated for up to a week before using the rest. Enjoy!

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Allison House is a passionate worship leader at the HCF Amarillo campus, wife to Curtis, and mom to four precious (and growing) kiddos.