Tonight, as we sat around the table lighting the advent candle and eating our soup, I was filled with joy, thinking about the hope that was born in the hearts of humankind on the first Christmas morning. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul. A hope both sure and steadfast” (Heb 6:19). Christmas isn’t really about Santa, and wholeness isn’t really about food. Since this blog is about wholeness, not just health, I want to share a few thoughts on Christmas. Hopefully it will be encouraging, and I promise I’ll get to the recipe, too!
The Hebrews passage I shared above describes the hope we have in Jesus as an anchor to our soul. Have you experienced trial and pain? I’m sure you have, and so have I! Sometimes it feels as though I’m being thrown around by the winds and waves of crazy circumstances, so having an anchor for my soul is more than just comforting…it’s life changing. It means that regardless of what happens right now my eternity is secure.
The baby born in the manger was, in fact, God with us. He loved us enough, even in the depth of our sin, to become a man, live in humble circumstances, then pay the ultimate price for the damage we cause to ourselves, our relationship with God, others, and the world around us. On our own, sin would have killed us. If God is truly just and good, then he can not ignore our sin. Would you consider it loving if he looked the other way when someone murdered your best friend? For some reason many people in our culture think that a “loving God” should let us do what we want, then give us a big hug, like a huge “codependent enabler” in the sky (that’s the image our pastor, Doug Rumford, gave in his sermon this morning). Since God is loving, though, he has to have a just response to sin. The just penalty for sin is death. It was God’s love and goodness that led him to respond in wrath to sin, but it was also his love and goodness that led him to pay the price and take our place.
Of course you may know that the story of God’s redemption for mankind does not stop with the death of Jesus on the cross. The One who created life in the first place was not defeated by death. He rose again on the third day! Jesus’ life is given to us if we accept it by turning away from a life lived for selfishness, and choose a life lived in relationship with God. God’s mercy is free. My soul is anchored by this glorious hope of eternity!
I’ll end this section with the words from my favorite Christmas song. It is called “Our God is with Us,” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
“One of us is cryin’ as our hopes and dreams are led away in chains. And we’re left all alone. And one of us is dyin’, as our love is slowly lowered in the grave. Oh, and we’re left on our own. But for all of us who journey through the dark abyss of loneliness there comes a great announcement: We are never alone! For the maker of each heart that breaks, the giver of each breath we take has come to earth and given HOPE its birth! And our God is with us! Emmanuel! He’s come to save us! Emmanuel! And we will never face life alone, now that God has made himself known as Father and friend, with us through the end. Emmanuel! He spoke through prophets’ voices and showed himself in a cloud of fire. No one had seen his face until the One Most Holy revealed to us his perfect heart’s desire, and left his rightful place. And in one glorious moment all eternity was shaken, as God broke through the darkness that had kept us apart. And with love that conquers loneliness, the HOPE that fills all emptiness, he came to earth to show our worth…Our God is with us! Emanuel!…So REJOICE!!!!!”
Beautiful words! Merry Christmas, and may you accept, live by, and rejoice in this anchor for your soul!
Here’s the recipe for the soup:
8 Cups Organic Chicken Stock
1 Bulb Fennel, Chopped
1 Cup Chopped Red Onion
3 Large Cloves Garlic
1 Small Bag Chopped and Washed Cauliflower
3 Cups Cooked Chicken Chunks
4 Small Red Potatoes, Chopped with Skin on
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 Cup Organic Pumpkin Puree (optional)
1/3 Cup White Bean Flour
I started by boiling all of the veggies, except the potatoes, in the broth and bean flour until they were tender. Then I used my immersion blender to make it smooth. It tastes really good this way, plus then your children won’t know they’re eating fennel, cauliflower, onions, and garlic! If you prefer not to blend it, just skip that step. Add the potatoes and boil until they are tender. Add the chicken at the end, just long enough to reheat it. Serve garnished with fennel fronds and leaves. All of the kids, even JJ, loved this soup! The fennel adds amazing flavor! Enjoy!