Friday, December 19, 2014

A Christmas Basket Full of Senses: Celebrating Christmas With Our Senses Part 2

A Christmas Basket Full of Senses 
Celebrating Christmas With Our Senses Part 2

Ahhh, the glorious gift of our senses to mark the celebration of a Savior that was born to this earth one glorious Christmas night.  The Wise Men knew the treasures our senses held as they placed their gifts before the child King.  It is my hope that I may find worship in every activity I do, that my senses soak in the present of His presence.  Join me on this journey of the senses, where God’s presence can be found in the little things that make this holiday “Holy”. 

The Sense of Taste and Smell: 

It is always wonderful to remember all the delicious treats that would be exchanged at Christmastime.  From the festive dishes that Grandma would spend all day making in the kitchen (especially her yummy dinner rolls whose smell would fill up the whole house) to the large array of chocolates, cookies, and desserts, all of it brings a smile to my face.  All the smells and tastes bring me home for the holidays.

There was the sweetest little lady at our church who would beg us younger girls (who never took the time when we had it) to spend a little time learning how to make such wonderful gifts of seasoned crackers, cinnamon candy, and other delightful treasures that were packaged up and given as gifts to the pastoral staff during the holidays.  Thankfully, Ms. Marie wrote her recipes down for us to pass on the gift to the next generation. 

Seasoned Crackers
1 (12 oz) pkg. Oyster crackers
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing
½ tsp. Lemon Pepper
½-1 tsp. Dill Weed
½ tsp. Garlic powder
¾ cup oil

Combine oil, salad dressing, lemon pepper, dill weed, and garlic powder in a 9x13x2 pan.  Add crackers.  Stir until completely coated.  Bake at 250* for 45 minutes.  Stir every 15 minutes.  Pour onto cookie sheets until cool.

The Sense of Hearing

I remember as a young child, I could hardly wait to pull out the beloved Christmas record albums and begin listening to the Christmas sounds of the season.  I remember the scratching sound of the needle as it played across the record time after time.  I remember songs like, “Ho, Ho, Ho, It’s Christmas” and “You Are My Christmas, Carol”, along with the newest sensation at the time, “The Chipmunk’s Christmas".  Yet, none of these songs blessed my heart as the songs of old that talked of that Blessed Christmas Morn.  

I remember practicing “Away In  A Manger” with my Sunday School teacher, Miss Lynn.  We’d sing it over and over again, to get that second verse just perfect.  And, as usual, we’d have to hum a few lines that were forgotten in that verse we practiced so hard.  As I grew older, those precious songs would mean so much more to me to learn the meaning behind the words.  All of them proclaiming Christ’s birth and the sacrifice He would make for you and me.  What beautiful sounds to hear as children sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, missing the second line one more time, and bringing a smile to my face.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight.

How silently, how silently, the wonderous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts the blessing of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.
-Phillip Brooks

The Sense of Sight, Smell, and Touch

When I think of all the wonderful sights and smells of Christmas, my senses become overwhelmed!  The lights and the glitter, the bright packages under the tree, the hustle and bustle of crowded streets, and the fires all aglow all touch my heart this time of year.  I enjoy the smells of fir trees and sugar cookies, fresh snow and firewood burning in the fireplace.  But nothing reminds me more of the Christmas story than the candy cane.   The color, shape, smell, and taste remind me of God’s great love story to mankind.

The Story of the Candy Cane
During the middle ages, mothers would use plain white sugar sticks to calm their fidgeting children during long mass services.  In 1670, a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany decided to bend the sugar treat to remind the children of the shepherd’s staff of those very first visitors to the manger the night Jesus was born.  They also were reminded that the songs they were singing in the choir were singing about the birth of the Good Shepherd.  As the children began to read, they noticed that by turning the candy cane upside down, you can form the letter “J”, the first letter in Jesus’ name.

Over the years this candy became of favorite throughout Europe and America.  Candy makers later added the colors of the red stripes to symbolize that Jesus was God’s gift of forgiveness and love.  They also added the peppermint taste  to represent our lives washed clean by God’s gift of grace.
-taken from “Creating Christmas Memories:  Traditions to Celebrate  With Family”

I challenge you this week to slow down and take it all in.  Live in the moments that we have now.  Use every minute to absorb the miracle of His birth through your senses and be a living example of worship to our King.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this! Hearing the story of the candy cane was just beautiful and also new to me. The way you bring me in with your detailed descriptions makes me feel like I was right there with you experiencing all the memories and moments with you.


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