Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.     Philippians 4:11-12

How did this happen? 

I was cooking dinner on Wednesday night.  The corn salad came together very easily – the only real work involved was chopping – and I was glad to offer the family something with a vegetable variety.  The tuna casserole was simple to put together, and despite the lack of specific baking instructions, turned out beautifully.  The date nut pumpkin loaf was delicious.  I even had time to make the cranberry relish I had been trying to get around to before the organically grown cranberries turned the corner.

I had planned to have dinner on the table at 6:00.  We sat down to eat at 6:10.  What’s more, the kids ate it – willingly!

Is this right?  Have I stepped into the wrong house?  Isn’t someone supposed to be crying?  Isn’t something supposed to burn?  It’s as if God is taunting me, saying “See, this really can happen, O ye of little faith.”

The evening meal went beautifully.  That being the case, I hardly know what to write about.  Like a starving person suddenly given a feast, I hardly know what to make of my good fortune.  Okay, I actually do know what to make of it.  I enjoyed it.  I relished the calm time with my family.  I was very grateful that my daughter tried each dish so readily.  After dinner, we turned off all the lights and played together in front of the lit up Christmas tree – the simple kind of time that you could miss if you blinked, but is worth more than gold.

I don’t expect every night to be like this one, as flawless and smooth.  But I hope I will remember the blessings that come from both the easy and the difficult.  The simple lesson I’ve learned is to never give up.  Our continuing efforts, our stubborn refusal to admit defeat, can make more of a difference than we are likely to be aware of. 

I am unapologetically giddy about Christmas.  As the weather turns cold, I happily dream about the tiny infant held in his mother’s arms, in a quiet stable on a star-filled night.  Shepherds are running to see the Good News for themselves, and wise men are travelling from the east.  But more than that, I believe the promise that was given on that night; the promise whose fulfilling would sometimes not be so pretty.  This promise was true even for Paul as he wrote the words above, far from the sweetness of that first Christmas night, in a prison cell where he suffered for the sake of the baby who was born in starry darkness.

The trail may be lovely or treacherous for us, or more likely plenty of both, but the promise of Christ is ours as well: no matter how difficult the journey, the last word is love.

May you be blessed this holy season.

Corn Salad
2 cans wh kernel corn                                    1 c. ch celery
1 bunch green onions, diced                       1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 T. salad dressing or mayo                          salt and pepper to taste
Mix. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors blend – Jean Crenshaw

Note:  I added asparagus because we had it.  It worked.

Diane’s Tuna Casserole
3 c. cooked elbow macaroni                        16 oz. Dean’s onion dip*
1 can tuna, drained                                         1 envelope chicken Shake N’ Bake
Mix macaroni, tuna and dip in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Sprinkle top with Shake N’ Bake.  Bake until bubbly and hot through.  Serve warm.
*Do not use any other dip.  They aren’t the same. – Diane Taylor

Note: I did break the rules and use a different type of onion dip.  It was fine.  The Dean onion dip, therefore, must be stupendous.

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