When our first two children were a preschooler and toddler, I was having one of those “gotta cram it all in” holiday seasons.
Rushing around that year, I was trying to check off everything on my daily-growing list, but life was already jam packed without the added pressures of Christmas preparations. We only had one car, my husband was in college, I cleaned offices a few nights a week and was in the midst of starting a home-based business, and I had those two precocious little ones to care for – and both still in diapers to boot! – just to name a few things.
One of my favorite traditions that we carried over from my childhood is having a “birthday cake for Jesus” on Christmas day, complete with candles and singing. When the kids were small, they really got into this.
This particular year, I was baking the cake late on Christmas Eve afternoon while trying to get everyone ready for the candlelight Christmas Eve service we planned to attend that evening. I decided on chocolate – just a box mix – we aren’t too picky. I whipped up the batter in no time and popped it in the oven.
It smelled heavenly! I could not wait to get it out – I was even thinking I might not be able to wait until Christmas day to cut a slice; it smelled so good!
The timer went off, I grabbed some pot holders, opened the oven, and…
The cake was flat.
Even flatter than a pan of brownies! What happened?
My husband gently asked me if I’d done something different, if something was missing. I shook my head, trying to figure it out, going through the steps in my mind. Then it hit me.
I forgot the eggs.
I know it’s the “wrong” holiday, but let’s talk about eggs for a few moments. They are actually pretty amazing.
You can make a variety of things with them – as the main ingredient or as a part. We use them with meats, veggies, even pasta and rice. We can eat them at every meal – and added to those wonderful baked goods, we can have them as part of our dessert too! They are full of protein, and despite the bad rap they were getting a few years back, they really are an amazing little food source.
And for animals and humans alike, the egg is where life begins. You won’t have a puppy, a chicken, or a baby without first having the egg.
The beginning of life.
I remember when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. A new life – growing inside of me! And it was no less miraculous to me with the next two pregnancies.
I remember the first time I felt that flutter of movement. And when my husband placed his hand on my tummy and could feel it too. Amazing.
Even in the adoptive process, there is that moment when the expectant parents find out that they will be bringing that life into their home to call their own.
The miracle of life!
So, let’s take another look at that cake I made. You know, it smelled great – it may have even tasted good (it was still chocolate, after all!).
Still, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have served that cake – no way, no how! It was…it was…
Check out this definition for the word flat:
Without vitality or animation; lifeless; dull
Did you catch that?
Without vitality. Lifeless.
Ever feel like that?
God wants a lot more for us than that, and there are quite a few Scriptures that talk about this.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28 (MSG)
Anyone knows that a good cake, that the best cakes, rise up tall and light. And that’s exactly the kind of life God wants for us.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)
The word “full” is translated “abudantly” in a few other versions. An abundant life! And The Message version reads, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
A cake looks a lot better full of eggs – full of life – doesn’t it?
Many of us know or have heard John 3:16 in a church or Sunday School class. This is The Message version’s rendering:
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted…“
The best way to de-stress during the busy Christmas season is first being sure you have eggs in your cake – making sure you know the One who gave us the greatest gift, His Son, Who in turn gives us life – and not just life, but life full and brimming over!
Check out what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:14-16 (MSG):
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us-an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!”
The following Christmas Eve, as I started mixing together all the ingredients for our Christmas cake, my daughter piped up, “Don’t forget the eggs this year, Mommy!”
I hope you won’t “forget the eggs” this year either.