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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

If you look at the top of almost any Christmas tree, you’ll probably see either a star or an angel. Both are important, integral, and co-mingled elements of the nativity story – both are needed to signal the tremendous miracle that occurred 2,000 years ago. And yet I find the angels are among us every day…

The star atop the tree symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, leading shepherds and kings alike to the Baby Jesus. How wonderful it is that a bright blazing symbol still sits atop our trees, reminding us of the way back to Jesus. My parents’ tree has had the same blue and silver foil star for at least the last 30 years so, when I started my own tree tradition here in Maryland, I selected a star to sit atop the tree.

But, now that I have gotten older, I am going to add an angel to sit prominently near the top. I don’t know why but I have always been fascinated most by the angelic element of the Christmas story.

I’d like to believe that I have angels all around me, guiding me through this tricky world. I know some of you out there must be thinking I’ve lost my mind and will next be talking about ghosts and voodoo priestesses – but I absolutely believe in angels! I think that the people we’ve lost, loved ones and friends, keep an eye on us and help to protect and shield us. And, I am SURE that someone up there is helping me navigate.

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is It’s A Wonderful Life. George Bailey’s guardian angel, Clarence, shows him how valuable he is to the world, to his family, to his friends, and to his town. How amazing is a God that can send an emissary to prove our worth to ourselves!

So many of us have lost someone we truly loved – and I ‘d like to believe that God simply needed them in heaven more than we do. He needs their help as friends for those in heaven and as angels for us on earth.

So, I will add an angel to my Christmas tree, as a tip of the hat to my angels up there who are guiding me!

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Food is a comfort to all of us at some point in our lives. When we are sick, we want the foods our mom used to make us. When we are sad, we can tear through a bag of M&M’s in an hour. When we are angry, we go out to dinner with our girlfriends and drink margaritas and eat fattening food. When we are stressed, we drink coffee and snarf donuts. And when we are depressed, we simply want foods that will make us feel better – for some of us it’s cakes and cookies, some prefer pasta and steaks, and yet others hit the good old-fashioned comfort foods – the mac and cheese, the chicken noodle (or, in my case, tomato) soup, the rice pudding, the ice cream, the doritos.

What is it about food that helps us to fill the holes in our hearts? As only a fat girl can, I have long pondered why we (especially as women) turn to food in times of crisis. I have several theories on this topic but most importantly I think that food connects us to ourselves and to other people.

Certain foods help reconnect us to moments from our past in ways that a photograph or a memory could never do – the tastebuds recreate those happy times. Those recipes remind us of people we’ve known and places we’ve been, like virtual scrapbooks. We can recreate those recipes (albeit imperfectly) in our own kitchens to remind us of our journeys and our histories. Maybe the food brings back, if only in memory, a certain person  that you loved. Maybe it reminds you of an important event. Maybe it was discovered on a vacation or trip to somewhere exciting.

Food is also the universal connector from person to person. It’s how we can establish a bond with someone in a non-verbal, non-partisan, non-judgemental way. Food, regardless of ethnicity, community, or religion, can create a connection between people and tells them that we care about them.

Have you noticed that all of our life moments are marked by food?  What happens when someone passes away? Casseroles. What happens when someone is sick? Soup. What happens if someone graduates? Cakes. Gets married? Also cake. Has a baby? More casseroles. Someone’s depressed? Take them out to dinner. Birthdays? Yet more cake. Celebrating summer? Picnics and BBQs. Holidays? Easter hams, Thanksgiving turkeys, Valentine’s chocolates, St. Patty’s green beer, etc.

Food, I think, is a grounding mechanism – it keeps us bound to each other and to our heritages, histories, and happy times. Like the lightning bolt that attracts the electricity, food draws us in and keeps us tied to the important events, people, and moments that make us who we are.

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