Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Hidden Joys of Christmas

Welcome Author Lily A. Dolan!
Lily shares a fond Christmas memory and a yummy cookie recipe!

The Hidden Joys of Christmas
By Lily A. Dolan

It was our Mom's secret, her sweet labor of love.  Every Christmas she made dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies.  They were delicately sprinkled with sugar colored red, green, blue and yellow and covered with icing flavored with peppermint, almond and my favorite, vanilla.  Each shape cut from dough rolled out not to thin or thick.  Trees, stars, hearts stored in metal tins tucked away in the darkness of her bedroom closet for Christmas Day.

I'm not sure which one of my brothers or sisters found them or even if it was me but we would individually sneak into the narrow closet and help ourselves.  The taste and smell floods my memory like a brand new box of crayons reminds me of the first days of early grade school.  That's about how old I was when I would sneak into the closet, open up the blue tin decorated with little white cherubim and have my fill.

Now, I still sneak into my own closet and I've found something sweeter than any Christmas cookie.  It's a secret place in my heart where I can taste and see the fullness of joy in the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  His word, found in the Bible, is sweeter than honey or even the honeycomb.  He is the living word and I love to search the pages of my Bible.  Hidden in my prayer closet, alone with Him, my soul is satisfied.  In Him alone I find the "Hidden Joys of Christmas."

I wrote this story a few years ago after I read a collection of Christmas reflections in a waiting room while my husband was having test done on his heart.  Over a 15 year period he persevered through a stroke, heart surgery and kidney transplant.  The doctors told us they would not be able to do surgery and so we went to our prayer closet and tasted and saw how the Lord is good.  He had brought us through so much and He will continue to prove that all things work together for the good for those who love God and are called to His purpose.

Our purpose is to have a relationship with Him and to give Him glory.  My husband, John, is now tasting and seeing the joy of the Lord in heaven.  He went to his eternal home on June 15th, 2012.  It was John's wish that our family go forward and rejoice.  We will because we have the hope of seeing him again.  May I encourage you today to hide away with Jesus and taste and see for yourself how sweet it is to know Him.  The Lord is good and He is faithful and His love and mercy endures forever.

By the way, I really don't remember my Mom getting mad and there were always plenty of cookies for Christmas because she told me she started hiding them in the washing machine.  All my children love these cookies because I have made them for the last 46 years. This Christmas my five along with their spouses and my grandchildren will share the joy of making dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies together to celebrate Jesus' birthday. The hidden joys of Christmas are found in the prayer closet of your heart before Jesus.  He is the main ingredient for a sweet life!

My Mom's Christmas Cookies

Lily's granddaughter Giavelle
creating yummy Christmas cookies!
Preheat oven 375
By hand mix:
1 cup softened butter
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons half and half
In a separate bowl mix:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
You will need wax paper under cooling racks.

Make icing before baking:
Blend with a mixer half a bag of powdered sugar into ¼ cup butter.  (Do this in the sink because it’s messy)

Add 1/3 cup hot half and half and 1 tablespoon vanilla to make icing easy to spread.

Roll out dough (thick or thin) with a rolling pin and cut out shapes.

Put cutouts on baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes. Depends if you like them lighter or darker or if they are thick or thin.

Ice immediately and sprinkle with colored sugar.  If you like lots of icing let them cool first before icing.

Cool and store in a cookie tin.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Lily baking Christmas cookies with her granddaughters Giavella and Makenna. 

Lily A. Dolan, Author

Merry Christmas 
Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year!

1 comment:

Starletta Schipp said...

What a beautiful memory and reminder for the Season of the birth of our Savior. It certainly made me smile (and your Mother was brilliant - hiding cookies in the washing machine).