I’d never been a great pie-baker. My crusts came out soggy and it seemed like a lot of work…but then I discovered blind-baking. It’s also called “pre-baking”, and after some research, I discovered other ways to do it besides pricking the crust with a fork…that had never worked for me like it should have, either. But taking the time to cover the crust with (greased) aluminum foil and then fill the foil with beans to weigh down the crust…they came out great! I still think that I prefer quick breads, cookies, and even yeast breads to pies, but at least I know now how to make good ones.
As I was making the pie crusts, though…letting my 9 and 6 year-old sons help mix the flour and salt, cut in the shortening…and make a big mess!…I realized that Blind-Baking is a little like Advent. Sure, we could just throw in a doughy crust, fill it, and bake it, and it will turn out ok…maybe not win any awards, but it’ll still taste good enough. We could just throw together our Christmas celebrations with the usual presents, once-a-week church, and the occasional party.
When we take time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, though, how much sweeter is Christmas! Just like when I take the time to pre-bake a pie crust, it is crispy and complements the filling, whether it be pumpkin or apple or what-have-you…the whole thing is so much better. Taking the time during the busy season leading up to Christmas can set a tone of eager expectation, peace in the midst of turmoil, and joy that even burned pies or under-cooked meals can’t steal. Because Christmas isn’t about the presents and food, or even about family.
It’s about God coming to us in a very real way because He had a plan to fulfill, which would accomplish our salvation. The tiny Baby, placed in that rough-hewn manger would hang from a roughly-hewn cross, taking on our sin so that we can stand before God clothed in His righteousness. Join I Love My Shepherd and GraftedHeart this year for Advent devotions Above All Names, centering on the names Scripture gives to Christ.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:4-11
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