Saturday, December 13, 2014

Creating Christmas Cookies

Wanting to not just delay celebrating until we got "home" to America, I decided it would be fun to make Christmas cookies to give out to Ryan's co-workers and some neighbors. After all, the Chinese people seem to enjoy learning about traditions, and this is one I enjoyed doing with my sisters many years. Plus, having something to give at Christmas, along with a letter explaining the true meaning of Christmas, seemed like a good plan.

I invited my neighbor to join me, since she really enjoys learning more about baking and I knew that making and decorating a whole batch of sugar cookies would likely make me go crazy! I'm so glad I asked... Projects like these are definitely not meant to be done alone!

She came over on Thursday to help roll and cut out the cookies. She brought some cookie cutters she had, and we used ones I'd brought here. The recipe I used was great - these were the easiest cookies I ever rolled and cut out! Must have been all of that butter. ;)

It only took 6-7 batches baking in our small oven before they were all ready. By that time, I'd had time to make the frosting and the cookies cooled quickly in the cool house. ;)

 The pretty colors ready to be used...

We were able to decorate about half of the over 80 cookies that night too, finally calling it around a night around 9 PM. While we baked, Ryan and her husband talked for quite a while, getting on some really good topics, truth being shared and discussed. Then he took their son back and Ryan went to get some music ready for Sunday (Hadassah having been in bed for some time already) and it left Y and I with some great time to talk. It's rare that we get uninterrupted time, as one or the other of us is usually busy with a child. :)

 There's something about making something pretty that is so relaxing. Christmas music played in the background, giving some starters for conversation here and there. Y remarked that it had been a stressful week at work, but that this was so restful and fun. As I decorated a sheep, I asked if she'd heard the phrase "counting sheep." She said yes, and that in China they joke that Americans must count sheep because it sounds like the word for sleep (how did I never make that connection?). So she said in China people say to count dumplings, because the word for boiled dumplings sounds like the word for sleep - same spelling and pronunciation, just different tones. It made us both laugh, especially when she said you're not supposed to count too many dumplings, or you'll get hungry and won't be able to sleep!

I enjoyed learning more about Chinese history, sharing some stories from the first Christmas as the music played, and hearing some ancient Chinese stories that are similar.

The next evening, she came over again, to finish decorating the cookies. It was just us, along with music, and as we worked and talked, she remarked on how nice it was to do something creative with a friend. And she truly is a friend. I am realizing how blessed I am - I've never had a friend as such a close neighbor!

We got to know each other more over Christmas cookies. She shared some hard things that have happened in her family. I asked about what they think about life after death, and shared about the peace I have about that in Christ. As music played that my students had danced to, I shared some of the memories. I told her about my favorite and last production, "Creation's Promise" and described the Creation dance. She wanted to see it, so after we finished up the cookies, we watched the recording, as it portrayed creation and the fall. It's really cool to see how things I did in the past - really, God did - are being used even now.

We now have 22 smaller plates of cookies, stacked and ready to give out to Ryan's co-workers. Ryan edited the letter yesterday, to clearly explain the message that brought so much hope so many years ago. There is a reason for this season - and there's a reason why we're here.

Lord, use these cookies, to glorify You, as You already have... 

1 comment:

  1. This is Helen-
    Great post! We still have DVDs of ballets and plays that you directed.