The holidays are filled with a multitude of delicious goodies: Eggnog, gingerbread men, spritz cookies, fudge, chocolate-covered pretzels, coconut macaroons, thumbprint cookies, and a host of other heavenly goodness. A couple of my all-time favorites would have to be peanut butter kiss cookies and, believe it or not, fruitcake. Hmm, I can taste them right now. Too bad dinner is in about an hour!
Do you have a favorite holiday food?
I recently heard of a unique dessert that, for a moment, led me to literally gasp in disbelief. It is something called a “cherpumple”. I had never heard of such a feast! Do you have any ideas as to what this sugary sweet treat might be? Basically, cherpumple is three different types of pies baked into one massively large 3-layer cake, weighing close to 15 pounds. Creating and baking this monster from scratch could easily take three days to complete, and due to its massiveness, can be very unstable. But if it does fall, have no fear, just be like Julia Child, grab some forks and serve it with a smile.
What is cherpumple, you ask? Picture it as the turducken of desserts with a bottom layer of apple pie baked into spice cake; a middle layer consisting of a pumpkin pie surrounded with yellow cake; while the top layer is a white cake with a cherry pie baked inside. Each layer is slathered with a cream cheese frosting, all towering together to form a well-orchestrated cake of behemoth proportion. One piece of this baby will set you back a mere 1,800 calories, which is pretty close to an entire day’s worth of food all on one plate. The cherpumple beast literally fills a dinner plate, oozing from side to side.
Can we say “gut-bomb”?
Just as the cherpumple cake has all the winter holiday flavors and essence wrapped into one massive chunk, as Christians we also feel the cherpumple effect in our own lives as well. One of the things I frequently hear from people is how busy and stressed they are, particularly in December. At times our plates become full, so full that life begins to pass blurring by at warp speed, resulting in some of the important things falling off. The truth is, things we take into our lives can have a profound impact on us relationally, physically, but especially, when it comes to our relationship with God. Just because we can do something does not mean we should do it. We may not have literally eaten cherpumple cake, but we all have had the “gut-bomb” feeling at one time or another. What is filling your plate right now? Is there something weighing heavily on you? Many sociologists say that Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of the year for people, bringing about depression, stirring up, and even exposing latent family stress and inner anxiousness. Holiday times can exacerbate layer after layer of both joy and tension wrapped into one massive piece of cherpumple, leading to stress and overload. Hence, the cherpumple “gut-bomb” effect.
I love the season of Advent, not because of the delicious foods and pretty décor, but because it provides me the opportunity to take a step back from my busy day-planner to examine the things piled on my plate. The season of the Church year called Advent comes from a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival” which describes well what this time of year is all about. Everything surrounding the Christmas season centers upon our relationship to the arrival and preparation for the birth of baby Jesus, the coming King. Advent is important because it leads us to look inward to reflect on our readiness to meet Jesus. Christ is coming back, are you ready? Is there something preventing you from sitting at the feet of Jesus? Yes, our plates can become pretty overwhelming with lots of things vying for our attention, but what, or shall I say “whom” is at the center of your plate? The incredible news of Christmas is that God cuts through the darkness of our lives to shine His Light of hope into the midst of our most challenging and darkest times.
So I say, let the cherpumple fly, because the remedy to the deeper heartburn and heartache caused by sin has come. His name is Jesus. One of my favorite sections of scripture at this time of year comes from the prophet Isaiah who was speaking to a people facing an incredibly difficult time, a major cherpumple “gut-bomb” moment. He challenged them with the following words:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. … For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)
What powerful words! As we enter another season of Advent, I encourage you to remember Isaiah’s words of comfort. Take a breath and give yourself a break, extending to yourself (and others) some grace during an already challenging time. As we prepare for our Savior’s birth, God comes close, into the middle of our mess to be Light and hope during dark times. Bask in this light, His Light, my friend! Our Immanuel, God with us, has come!
I also encourage you to slow down and take a reflective look at the things filling your plate. Is there an item or two needing to be cast aside? Is something missing? This time of year may be overwhelming, but remember, the plate looming before us isn’t ours to begin with! As we take up Christ’s yoke through an unfathomable act of sacrificial mercy, He takes our heavy yoke upon Himself, extending to us freedom! Life for life. Our plates are full, yes, but the Good News of Christmas has come, shouting to us from a lowly stable to prepare and make way for the coming King who desires to make a home on the throne of our heart.
Are you prepared to meet the King of Kings? Ready or not, here He comes!
Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!
Basking in the Light,