End of the Church Year
This past Sunday in church, we celebrated the last day of the church year. Some churches call this Christ the King Sunday; others simply call it Last Sunday of the Church year (so creative).
Either way, it marks the end of the flow of the church seasons–from Advent to Christmastide, from Epiphany to Lent, from Easter to Pentecost. It provides a lovely rhythm to year, as we mark the seasons by the events in the life of Christ and the life of the church.
On Thanksgiving Eve, we will celebrate with our church family the national holiday of Thanksgiving. This is one of the few (only?) holidays that is not an official church calendar holiday since the holiday is localized to the U.S. However, it’s a long tradition in the U.S. Lutheran church to celebrate Thanksgiving with a church service. That seems appropriate to me–before we sit down with the people we love over a meal of turkey and stuffing, we go to church to say thank You to God.
Redeemer used to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day, but a couple of years ago, the Turkey Trot, the annual 5K race held in Elmhurst, changed their course so that it nears the church. Members of the congregation would have had a very difficult time getting to Redeemer, so we changed our church celebration to the evening before.
Anyhow, Thanksgiving provides us an excellent opportunity to reflect back on our lives, to number our blessings, to thank God for the many ways He provides for us in body and spirit.
This Thanksgiving at the Stiegemeyer house is also quite exciting because we welcome Jacob home! Hooray! It’s been almost 2 months since we’ve seen him, and I’m not ashamed to say I put a “Welcome home Jacob!” sign on the front door.
I had a weird moment last night as I was brushing my teeth. I looked around the bathroom and wondered, “Huh, do I clean my house when my own child is returning home?” Normally when we would have houseguests I’d wipe down surfaces, dust, vacuum, etc. But he’s not a houseguest. He’s coming home. But hey, the sink needed cleaning anyhow, so I gave it a swirl.
Giant baking extravaganza day arrived last Saturday! About seven girls from the youth group and I gathered in the Redeemer Center to work on the last 4 cookies remaining in the cookbook. We’re going to welcome back the young people in our congregation who we’ve been missing as they’re off to college and other pursuits, and we thought we’d do so with a small reception after our Thanksgiving Eve service.
To prepare for the reception, I decided we’d make the remaining recipes from the cookie section of the cookbook. First up: Mincemeat Cookies!
I must say that the “meat” part of this name sounds a bit odd, so of course I did a little digging, and found that mincemeat goes back to the 11th century, according to this website, which reports that the three main spices in mince pies–cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg–were to represent the three gifts of the wise men who came to see the Christ child.
Before reading the recipe (p. 98), I wondered if these would be like pecan pie bars, or something of that sort–like a mini-pie with a crust baked in the bottom of the pan and then spread with a filling. Nope! These mix the mincemeat right into the dough, plus extra raisins for extra yumminess.
Here’s a photo of Carli hard at work on the cookies:
She’s not only a baking phenom, but also bailed me out–not once but twice! I forgot my electric mixer and oats. She went home to fetch the items–thank you, Carli!
Anyhow, these cookies taste sort of like a raisin spice cookie. They’re quite tasty! Of the four we made that day, this was my favorite. The dough was too soft, so I should have had the girls add in some more flour, but hey, we were like machines just plugging through these four remaining recipes and had to keep it moving!
More photos will follow of the finished cookies. We made all the cookies, assembled trays, and then stored them in the church refrigerator, so I’ll have to take more pics on Thanksgiving eve.
Thank you to the girls for helping, to Kelly for the mincemeat, and to Stacie P. for this interesting recipe!