Last night, our small local convent community finally got together to exchange our own personal gifts and open those from “The Christ Child.” It’s been a busy week, but we still got it in within the octave of Christmas.
This gift exchange is one full of traditions. We begin by singing a Christmas hymn and reading the midnight Mass Gospel passage from the missalette.
We go on to voice our prayer intentions and have a little prayer prior to opening the gifts.
The packaging of these gifts also follows a set traditional pattern. My gifts from the Christ Child are always placed in a red and white square box which once held a ham shipped to us by the generous niece of one of our Sisters.
Sr. Rebecca and Sr Elaine, on the other hand, have been passing a rectangular box back and forth from one Christmas to the next, since “time immemorial.” Well, I guess it’s more like 30 years compared to the meager seven that I’ve opening mine.
My box, though, was far from “meager.” Actually, this year, I got two boxes, filled with baking supplies. There was flour, sugar, vanilla, and vegetable oil, as well as various baking chips, raisins, etc.
A verse from 1 Peter (4:10) seemed very appropriate here: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
My baking, along with keeping our residents happy, is also a way of using up the gallons pumpkin that we process in the fall.
My baking repertoire has been constrained to recipes that use pumpkin, and the more cups the better! Now that I have molasses, heath toffee bits, and other special products, my horizons are expanding beyond my comfort zone.
Now I have to “think outside [or inside] the box.”
We (“my resident helper” and I) were all set to bake some delicious ginger mint cookies today, but alas, it’s too busy!
Between sing-along, newsletters, and an early New Years party, there are plenty of other distractions to keep her (and me) busy!