Savoring Christ this Christmas
I had never baked a Christmas cookie beside a gingerbread man before I met the woman who would one day become my mother-in-law. My family had its own traditions—expansive homemade gingerbread houses and chocolate truffles—so Christmas cookies seemed a bit superfluous. I had experienced nearly eighteen years of my life before I understood the joy of baking ten kinds of Christmas cookies in one afternoon.
Leaving that afternoon with a plateful of such a variety of treats—candy cane shaped sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies with peanut butter cup centers (my personal favorite), tea cakes, and gingersnaps, among so many others—was like walking away with a sweet treasure just waiting to be consumed.
Each morning, we wake up to a plate of treasure waiting for us to taste and savor—no, I'm not talking about Christmas cookies for breakfast—but God's Word. As the psalmist said in 119:103, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" The Bible is not an old stale book, but God's Word, living and active, filled with a variety of genres, each with its own kind of sweetness.
The Bible offers a historical narrative, wisdom literature, letters to churches, prophecy, apocalyptic, poetry, and the Gospels. Each genre offers its own kind of sweetness while telling one big story—the story of salvation. Consider opening a different genre today than what you typically read, experiencing how it uniquely invites you to savor your Savior. The Bible is one incredible story about our great God and through reading and studying it, we experience his unending love and grow to love him more.
And don't forget to try one of the favorite holiday treats our team has compiled—or go all out and make plates filled with a variety of these Christmas goodies to share with your loved ones.
Tasting the Sweetness of God's Word,
Click the photo below for a printable PDF of these recipe cards!
Sweet Recipes: Cranberry Cobbler
This recipe quickly became a necessity for our holiday dessert table. My mother-in-love, Joni, shared this recipe with me, but the story of how she received it is even sweeter:
“It was given to me by a coworker my first year at my new job. I had been through a lot of emotional and spiritual upheaval, which eventually led me to the new job, which brought a lot of peace as well as some new friends. Now when I make the recipe, it reminds me of the friends as well as God’s goodness for bringing me out of the dark time that I had been in.” –Hannah
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted—plus more for the pan
1-½ cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup plus ¼ cup sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-¼ tsp baking powder
Pinch of cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup whole milk
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or similar baking pan). In a small bowl, toss together the cranberries and ¼ cup sugar, then set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Scrape the batter into the prepared skillet. Scatter the sugared cranberries over top of the batter evenly. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sweet Recipes: Toll House Pie
Any time my family gathers together in one location it’s a cherished celebration. One way we enjoy our time together is through eating good food and making family recipes! A lot of butter, eggs, and sugar are consumed as we laugh together and make new memories. Toll House Pie is, without a doubt, a family favorite! It’s easy enough to involve the kids in the making and delicious enough to savor every bite! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the top of your warm pie and enjoy with family and friends surrounding you! –Gretchen
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
6 ounce pkg semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Beat in flour, sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Then blend in the melted butter. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake for one hour at 325 degrees.
Sweet Recipes: Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
I made these cookies on a whim last Christmas and brought them to a cookie exchange. I made a few changes to the original recipe and loved how they turned out! They were a big hit at the cookie exchange, too. They are soft and chocolatey with a hint of mint and a bit of crunch. This recipe immediately became a family favorite. –Lindsay
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp natural peppermint extract
2-½ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
4-5 peppermint candy canes, finely crushed
½ bag dark chocolate chips
½ bag dark or semisweet chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for about two minutes. Add the eggs and peppermint extract and beat until fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the dry mixture gradually to the batter, mixing well on low speed until combined. Stir in the dark chocolate chips with a spoon, then chill the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Form the dough into 24 balls (roughly Tablespoon size) and place them, evenly spaced, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten the dough balls gently with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Once they have cooled slightly, drizzle with melted chocolate and top with crushed candy cane. Let the chocolate set before serving.