menu

MEET THE TEAM

CULTIVATING

OUR MISSION

THE CULTIVATING PROJECT

KIND WORDS

Cultivating Team

Our Story

meet

read

Back to Menu

11 / WELCOMING REST

search

I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord; “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

the CULTIVATING

journal

God In The Kitchen

December 10, 2019



 

“To the impossible: Yes!

Enter and penetrate

O Spirit.”[1]

~Madeleine L’Engle

 

It happened in a split-second. I knew it was real—I know what I saw, I know what I felt. If I’d have blinked, I’d have missed it. But I didn’t blink. My eyes were wide open.

For years, one of my favorite Christmas traditions has been to bake a wide assortment of Christmas cookies to share with friends and neighbors. When I say assortment, what I am talking about is baking between 7-10 different kinds of cookies. Piles and piles of them. I bought ingredients in bulk and dedicated half of a week to baking. Sprinkles, frosting, chocolate chips, food coloring, cookie cutters en-mass—these were the critical components to this extravaganza.

This ritual began long before my husband and I added any children to our family. In those early, child-less days, my husband would help me decorate and package the cookies, but as our family grew and changed, so did the “method to my madness.” When my children were toddlers, I’d set them up with frosting spoons and a few cookies and let them decorate a small assortment of confections. Their edible masterpieces would not make it to the giveaway boxes. I saved their finger-licked, multi-colored, heavily sprinkled creations for their own eating pleasure. They ate more than they worked, but it kept them content and allowed me to continue baking. Plenty of years, I’d end up baking and decorating into the night. For a few years, this baking ritual became complicated while navigating over-sugared preschoolers and juggling a newborn. I found it less stressful to work when my hands were free and no one was spreading the Tupperware from one end of the kitchen to the other.

No one asked for these colorful cookie plates I’d deliver. Not at first anyway. But after a couple of years of giving them as gifts, sometimes a friend would smile and ask, “so…are you baking again this year?” Their tone always more request than question. If I’d even momentarily entertained the idea of skipping my own tradition, their thinly veiled request sent me to the store for ingredients. It never felt like work. Not really—at least, not until I’d have to clean the sugar coating off of everything in my kitchen. Baking for the delight of friends brought me as much joy as it did them. They loved to receive, and I loved to give. Everybody wins. Joy abounds. I’ve come to believe that God delights in the things that delight us. I am stunned at how easily I forget to see Him as a smiling, winking figure.  

I don’t know what was different that year when God winked at me in my kitchen. The details around that moment are blurry. I see the hours surrounding the wink like water colored pools, bright but lacking any discernible detail.

I know this much: I was baking, I had a tray of cookies in my hand, and when I turned my head to look towards the family room, I saw it—a face with no distinguishing features, except for the eyes, and one eye was most clearly, inarguably winking. I knew from the crinkle around the eye, that there was a smile too—thought I didn’t see that—I felt it in my spirit. How does one feel a smile? It’s that sense you feel in your skin when you know someone is standing near you, though you haven’t actually turned to see them—you feel their presence. You don’t need to see them. You know they are there. That’s what it’s like to feel a smile.

To claim to have seen God winking is a bold proclamation.

I know some will read this and cringe at what feels less like a miracle, and more like a hallucination. I know others will puff out their cheeks, roll their eyes and dismiss this story with a wave of a hand. I’ve gone from talking about excessive baking rituals to confessing a supernatural encounter with the Holy in my tiny kitchen on Smokymill. I know how this sounds. But I’ve never felt more seen by God than I did in that split-second encounter.

The season of Advent is punctuated by the most Super-natural story ever told in the history of creation.

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:35 NLT

A baby born of both flesh and the very Spirit of God born to a virgin. Impossible, and yet—it happened, just as the angel declared it would. The Supernatural presence of the Holy came and dwelt among us in human form. Himself, the offering, the abundant gift offered for those who believed, and for those who could not. Offered freely for all. Take Him, leave Him, He comes still—regardless of our invitation.

All of this, and still, some of us dismiss the Super-natural. It’s impossible, we say.

We protect our sanity for vanity’s sake. What will people think? And yet, our hearts ache for a Christmas miracle.

 

In the years since the God-wink in my kitchen, I’ve continued to bake around the holidays. It is one of the delightful traditions of the season for us. It’s part of our family rhythm. In the years when I have been too overwhelmed or stretched too thin, I have pared down the amount I make, but still the practice of it persists. The work of it brings joy. The practice of it is one root amongst many, that keep us firmly planted and present in this season. We bake for our own pleasure, and for the purpose of delighting others.

Something happens in the kitchen that has nothing to do with sugar and flour and food coloring. In the rolling of dough, in the stirring and decorating, peace settles like flour dust all around us in the kitchen.  

With dough between my fingers, I listen to the words of the old carols play from the stereo. Oh come Oh come, Emmanuel—we invite Him to come to us, but balk when He does. We believe in the star (after all, we’ve seen it!), we believe in the wise men, in the shepherds, but the God-man who came to us Super-naturally?—now wait a minute, we say. On this Truth, we pause, and wonder. Can it really be so? Arguments wage over how much of Him was God, and how much of Him was human. Fully both? It hardly seems possible.

 If Madeline L’Engle were still with us, she might call Advent an “irrational season”. But reason isn’t the heartbeat of Christmas. Our attempts at rational explanations for mysterious happenings are only a faithless effort to reduce what feels unimaginable down to something we can hold in our small hands. We want something we can manage, something we can consume. God in the manger? A king born in filth? What story is this? It’s easier to cling to the felt-board Christmas story than it is to reconcile with the Mystery of His actual coming. The real story sticks like taffy on the teeth. It’s difficult to chew on. It’s as absurd as admitting that one has seen God wink at her while baking.      

But what if God is doing more than winking at us in our kitchens while the Christmas carols drift from our speakers?

What if, in His Son-sent-to-earth, God is writing a story in the chambers of our frail, doubtful hearts—all while we make merry and make cookies? What if the sugar-dusted labors of our love, stacked on plates and in boxes handed to neighbors and friends, are a way of passing His wink on to others, who too, need to know that they are seen this season?

 

This is the irrational season

When love blooms bright and wild.

Had Mary been filled with reason

There’d have been no room for the child.[2]

 

If we can give room to the Super-natural delivery of the Savior of the world, perhaps we can give room to the idea that He is as present at Christmas as He was in the hay of a darkened stable, and later, on the cross. Maybe the most irrational thing about this present season is that we fail to see what is right before our eyes. While we’re busy making merry, Christ is in the kitchen with us, right here now. Emmanuel means, God with us.

Isn’t that unbelievable?

Isn’t that wonderful?   



[1] L’Engle, Madeline. “Annunciation” in The Weather of the Heart. Waterbrook Press, 2001.

[2] L’Engle, Madeline. “After Annunciation” in The Weather of the Heart. Waterbrook Press, 2001.



The featured image is courtesy of Kris Camealy and used with her permission for the Cultivating Project. 



 

Kris Camealy

comments

  1. Jordan Durbin

    December 11th, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Friend! How beautiful!!

  2. Julie Jablonski

    December 13th, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Oh how I love this Kris! Thank you for this beautiful Hope and inspiration. You are a sparkling gem full of good things to give, and everyone around you is so blessed to receive.

  3. Denise Armstrong

    December 13th, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you for this sweet reminder that He is so very ready to reveal Himself to us . May the Light of the glory of God, in the face our Christ Jesus, fill your home and neighborhood again thru you this Christmas!
    Denise Armstrong

  4. Lori Jean

    December 13th, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Although I’ve not seen a wink, I for sure have felt the smile. Thank you for sharing your words & your heart continually. Do you share your sugar cookie recipe? 😘❤️🎄

  5. Mary Miller

    December 14th, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Kris, it IS wonderful! As I prepare and knead the dough for my Norwegian Julecaka each year, knowing those expectative comment from friends and family who look forward to their loaves, I labor with love and expectations, too. A true delight of Christmas. Our Savior’s advent wasn’t quick and easy, but His advent emerged from labor and expectation. the Gift.

  6. Jody Collins

    December 14th, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Oh, Kris, He is god with us….and I can totally seeing God wink. Loved this.

  7. Sherri

    January 2nd, 2020 at 10:18 am

    I have heard God laugh out loud, i know it was God, and it was precious, but I don’t share it often, because, well, I am afraid I will be judged. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.