Thanksgiving was so much fun with all of the cooking and baking and eating and family time…
Elana's Pantry. I pretty much followed them as she directs, except I used maple syrup in place of the agave. They were really wonderful tasting, easy to make and good to make ahead and keep in the refrigerator because the flavors had more time to really meld together. For the carrot cake cupcakes, I used a maple cashew cream frosting...slightly tart but much lighter than a traditional cream cheese and super yummy with the carrot cake. The chocolate cake was made with coconut flour. It was really rich and decadent, yet much lighter than a typical chocolate cake.
Now we enter the season of advent…the season of waiting…waiting with hope and expectancy for many things. I remember how exciting this time of year was to me as a child. My brother and I would anxiously anticipate what gifts might be hidden in the house for us and we would set about to find them…searching through closets, under beds, in drawers. Then, when the presents were wrapped and under the tree we would shake them and peer as hard as we could trying to see through the paper and sometimes, yes, we even peeled back the paper in an attempt to see what might be written on the box. We were hopeful and forced to wait until Christmas Day to receive the gifts, but we were not always peaceful and patient in the wait.
Hope: the desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.
The things I hope for now are not like the Cabbage Patch Kids, bikes, and doll houses I hoped for as a child. The things I hope for cannot be bought on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The things I hope for cannot be found at the mall. Yet, there are good things I desire and greatly expect to obtain. There are presents figuratively wrapped under a tree, but I cannot shake them, peel back the paper or strain my eyes to see what they might be. And honestly, I don’t want to know until the day when the One who wrapped them up tells me I can open them. One thing I learned as a child too impatient to wait for Christmas Day is that some of the thrill is lost when you already know what’s inside. There is an excitement in the unknowing, in the unveiling, in the peeling back of the paper and lifting the lid of the box and removing the tissue paper and finally seeing what has been so carefully selected and tenderly wrapped especially for you.
"Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting--that is, of hopefully doing without--will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment. For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
As I wait for things long hoped for, I know my ultimate hope is in Jesus, the One who makes Christmas. Without His coming we would have no true Christmas. This year, I am creating a Jesse Tree to keep focus on the main thing. I will be lighting a candle each night, reading a passage of scripture and hanging an ornament on a Jesse Tree as a reminder of what it is I truly await. On Christmas Day I will celebrate the end of waiting and the beginning of the flooding light and proclaim:
All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ ascends to God for His glory. - 2 Corinthians 1:20