Christmas cheer and blessings from our house to yours!
“Are you ready for Christmas?” we ask.
What does it take for you to “get ready for Christmas”?
If I could easily get a reply, I’d probably get a thousand different answers. It would be super interesting to hear what Christmas really means to all of you.
For me, it has so many dimensions. There is the side of family and friends, gathering in the cozy warmth of each other’s homes, enjoying a tasty meal together, and celebrating the big day. I love the relaxing afternoons of eating snacks and homemade candy around flickering candles.
Then there is the simple yet stark beauty of celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus. While we do not have Santa or Christmas trees as the center of our Christmas, I can’t say that I have ever felt deprived or cheated.
Exchanging gifts is popular in many Amish communities, while others have never adopted the tradition.
My mind reels back to childhood days and all the Christmas gatherings with family in Holmes County, Ohio, on my mom’s side, where Grandma would always have a bingo game ready. My eyes gleamed with curious delight as I’d spy the table full of bingo gifts, wondering which would be mine.
Then there were the times my Dad’s family would gather in Indiana. I smile as I think of how we teenage cousins would dress up as Bible characters and then act out various Bible scenes. As we presented our skit, the parents would see if they could guess which story it was.
Now I am a mother, and my six little ones will soak up anything I teach them about the holiday season; I wonder what will bring the most positive results in their tender young lives? I am constantly amazed by how they absolutely believe anything they are taught!
I ask myself, “What do I want them to be like when they are teenagers or even parents; and what steps do I need to take to get them where they need to be?” It seems if I just do what comes naturally, it’s not enough.
Then I wonder, “What would glorify Jesus the most this Christmas season, and what would a Christmas celebration look like in heaven?” Hmm, maybe my ambitions are more about myself and less about Him than I realized.
This year Julia and Austin are excited to go Christmas caroling with their cousins. My mother plans to walk with them from house to house, singing several songs at each stop. Austin has been practicing some songs he’s not familiar with, such as “Go Tell It on the Mountain”.
His favorite song is “I Said the Donkey.” You can imagine his boyish gusto as he heartily neighs, moos, and bleats at the end of each verse. My mother fondly recalls how she would go Christmas caroling with her cousins when she was a little girl. I’m delighted to see her keep up the old tradition with our children.
Now, talking of old traditions, the earliest memory I have of my mother making candy was when I was six-years-old. I was completely impressed with her cracker candy, now I have enjoyed making it for our children as well.
It is too simple not to make for the holidays. Be sure to share a plate with your neighbor, mail carrier, or someone who may be experiencing sadness or grief this holiday season. Enjoy!
GLORIA’S BUTTERSCOTCH GRAHAM CRACKER CANDY
Saltines or graham crackers
1 cup butter (for crunchier crackers, use only 1/2 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
Put a single layer of saltine or graham crackers side by side (with 4 sides touching one another) on a 10 by 15-inch rimmed cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bring butter and brown sugar to a rolling boil. Boil for three minutes. Spread mixture on top of crackers.
Preheated oven to 400 degree. Bake crackers with sauce, for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle with 1 1 /2 cups chocolate chips. Let set three minutes and then spread melted chips over with a butter knife. Cool and break into sized pieces of your choice.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.