Have you ever known the meaning of a word when you hear it, but not recognized it in its written form? One that confused me for a lot of years was“compromise.” I read it as “compromise.” I knew what a compromise was,but didn’t associate it with the printed word. Or how about “chaos?” That’s another one that can really be confusing. I have heard it pronounced several different ways when people are reading aloud, “chows” and “chy-oes” being among them. Who would know just to look at the word that it should be spoken as “kay-oss?”
Finally, there is the moment when you put the written word together with the spoken word. What was murky becomes clear. “Debris” becomes “de-bree” instead of“deb-riss.” You realize that “façade” is not “fa-cade,” it is “fa-sahd.” When the words we see match the words we say, we gain a deeper understanding of our language.
After God created people, they chose to reject His wisdom for the lies of one who would do anything to create chaos out of God’s perfection. They listened to deceptive words that were deliberately meant to cause misunderstanding between them and their Maker. Even as He meted out their punishment, God revealed His intention to provide a way for imperfect humans to be reconciled to Himself.
There are many predictions throughout the history recorded in the Bible’s Old Testament that reveal how the Messiah would come, when He would come, and where He would be born. However, God’s people expected a ruler that would free them from human oppression instead of a child born in humble circumstances. God’s spoken words,written down by prophets, were fulfilled when His son, Jesus, arrived as a tiny baby.
Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of God’s Son. We focus on the Christ child, often overlooking the rest of His story. We fail to connect the baby with the man who would offer Himself as an atoning sacrifice for our transgressions. We want to picture the cooing infant and not the grisly scene at the cross. It is only when we put the two together that we grasp the true meaning of the season.
The birth of Jesus was just the beginning of God’s plan of redemption for mankind. The more I read my Bible, the more I come to know the Lord and how His ways are best. Things that didn’t connect fall into place as I gain a deeper understanding of who God is and how much He loves me. Finding Jesus in Christmas is a starting point, but thankfully, His story doesn’t end there!
Speaking of Christmas, how about a couple of recipes for your holiday morning?
Christmas Breakfast Casserole is scrumptious and can be prepared ahead of time. I would suggest storing the two mixtures in different containers,putting them together and pouring them into the baking dish right before you pop it into the oven. “Putting cold glass into a hot oven can be disastrous,” says the voice of experience. The Strawberry Cream Cheese Rolls are wonderful and fairly easy to make. I prepared the filling a while back and stored it in the freezer, making sure it was at room temperature before I used it.
Christmas Breakfast Casserole
1 (32-ounce) bag of frozen tater tots
1 pound diced ham
1/2 cup real bacon bits
1-1/2 cups, plus 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or another variety)
1 (10.5-ounce) can of cream of celery condensed soup (may use mushroom)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoons hot sauce
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
Place tater tots, bacon, ham, and 1-1/2 cups of cheese into large bowl. Toss gently with hands or a large spoon so that all of the bacon, cheese, and ham is evenly dispersed among the tater tots. Place in prepared pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, condensed soup, milk, sour cream, pepper, salt, onion powder, and hot sauce.
Pour egg mixture evenly over top of tater tot mixture. Cover with aluminum foil; place in oven. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until eggs are almost completely set.
Remove foil. Top casserole with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; evenly distribute red and green bell peppers.
Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees;cook for 20 more minutes, or until cheese is melted, eggs are completely set, and edges have browned.
Yield: 10-12 servings.
Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Rolls
1 quart fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
4 teaspoons Instant ClearJel
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons grated orange peel (zest)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons milk or cream
Filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Wash and hull strawberries; toss them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread berries in single layer on baking sheet; bake for 25 to 30 minutes for fresh, or 40 to 45 minutes if baking from frozen. Berries will collapse somewhat and give up their juices. Remove from oven; let cool 10 minutes on pan.
Scrape berries and any liquid from pan into a medium bowl. With fork or potato masher, break up berries until they’re in 1/4 – 1/2-inch chunks. Mix together remaining 1/2 cup sugar with ClearJel and cinnamon; sprinkle over berries. Stir well. Add orange zest; stir.Set aside.
For dough: Place milk, cream cheese,and butter in microwave-safe bowl; heat for 90 seconds, or until lukewarm. Transfer to large mixing bowl; add sugar, egg, yeast, salt, and flour. Mix; knead to make a soft dough that bounces back when you give it a poke.
Cover dough; let rise until almost doubled and puffy-looking.
To assemble: Turn risen dough out onto lightly floured surface; pat into an 18″ x 13″ rectangle. Spread strawberry filling over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch strip along one long edge uncovered.
Starting with filling-covered long edge, roll dough into log, pinching seam to seal it. Slice log into 12 equal pieces. Place rolls, cut side up, in greased 9-by-13-inch pan.
Cover pan with plastic; and let rise until almost doubled. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover rolls; bake them for 28 to 30 minutes until a light golden brown. Remove from the oven; cool to lukewarm on a rack.
Frosting: Beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth. Add vanilla, then the milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until the frosting is spreadable but still thick. Spread or pipe over rolls while still slightly warm.
Store leftover rolls, well wrapped, in refrigerator for a couple of days. Freeze for longer storage.