Friday, 19 December 2008

This Day



This Day

This Day won’t come my way again,
So let me take the time,
To make another’s holiday as full of joy as mine.
This Day won’t come my way again,
So let me freely share,
The blessings of the Season
With those for whom I care.
This Day won’t come my way again,
So let me spread His love,
As God did when He sent His Son,
Christ Jesus from above.
~Rosalyn Hart Finch


There are so many things to love about the Christmas season. The music, the sights, the smells, the tastes . . . For so many people though, Christmas is something else completely. It's lonliness, it's deprivation, it's sorrow or pain. When my Todd was on his own for those many years before we met, he hated Christmas. He wanted to bury himself in his bed on Christmas Eve and not come out until the holidays were all over, done and dusted. He often tells me the story about how one year he sat alone and had frozen burgers for Christmas dinner. Cooking a Christmas dinner for yourself to eat on your own is not a lot of fun . . . besides who will eat all the leftover turkey?

Christmas is one holiday that is positively meant for sharing and giving, not just getting. That's sometimes a really hard lesson to teach children, and there are quite a few adults who don't exactly understand that concept either. There is ever so much more joy to be gained out of sharing our blessings with others.



We try always to invite people over to share our holidays with us. This year, we have the missionaries coming to us on Christmas Eve, and I just know that in blessing them with a special meal and perhaps a few secret goodies, they will in turn bless our home with their presence and the special spirit that they always bring with them. Then on Christmas Day, we have another couple invited that are on their own like us, plus I invited the old ironing lady from up at the big house to come and share it with us, as she is all on her own as well. I'm really looking forward to having them all over and being able to share some delicious food, and company and Christmas Joy with each of them.

We have two children that we sponsor through the Compassion organization. Each year we send them an additional amount to help to buy each of them a Christmas Gift and then also another sum of money to help buy something for their families. Last year they got goats, which might have disappointed a few children in this very affluent country of ours, but in their country may make the difference between starving in the coming months, or not. A goat means milk, and milk means cheese and other means of being able to bring some extra income and food into their homes. This is a gift that continues to bless them all the year through. It really does my heart good to know that, whilst I cannot solve the problems of the whole of the African nations, I am able to make a difference in the lives of these two families.



There are people and children here in this very country we live in that will suffer and do without this Christmas as well. I know that things are very tight this year for a great many people, and they will be tight for Todd and I, but I can at least give a few pounds to the Salvation Army or to a children's charity for Christmas. It may not be much, but every little helps.

Our Ward gathers up food and gifts from it's members to put into Christmas Cheer boxes, which are then distributed amongst people who really need help. Todd and I always try to donate as much as we can, and not things from our store cupboard that are near to their expiry date, but things that we would love to find in a cheer box ourselves should we ever need to receive one, and I sincerely hope that we don't.

It's these little things, these small acts of reaching out beyond ourselves that make this holiday sweet to us. It's knowing that however small your efforts may be, you have been able to make a difference in someone else's life. It could be something as simple as giving an elderly neighbour a quick visit with a plate of cookies and a cup of tea, and then stopping for half an hour just to listen and to care. You don't really need a lot of money to make a difference, sometimes all you need is a little time . . .

I think you'll find that in making an effort to bless others . . . you really end up blessing yourself. It's a gift that just can't help giving back!

I tried making these cookies yesterday for a party we have to go to on Saturday night. They didn't quite turn out as nice as I had envisioned them looking. They are supposed to look like Christmas Puddings. I had to rush out the door to go to Seminary and then Young Women's. I knew that when I got back the chocolate would have hardened too much, so I didn't wait long enough in between using the two different chocolates. They are really tasty though and I guess they don't look that bad. If you hate fruitcake though, these cookies are not for you . . .



*Christmas Pudding Cookies*
Makes 30

These are kind of cute sitting on your Christmas Cookie tray. With the nutty shortbread base and the rich fruited filling, not to mention the chocolate toppings, they please on every level.

1 2/3 cup flour (250g)
1/3 cup ground almonds (40g)
1/3 cup white sugar (75g)
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla
125g cold butter, chopped
2 TBS water
700g rich fruit cake
1/3 cup brandy (you can use fruit juice)
1 egg white
400g dark eating chocolate, melted
75g white chocolate, melted
30 red glace cherries



Pre-heat oven to 180*C/375*F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the flour, almonds, sugar, spice, extract and butter into the bowl of your food processor. Process until crumbly. Add the water through the hopper and process until all the ingredients come together as a dough. (You may need a bit more water)

Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 inch biscuit cutter. Place about 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking tray. Bake for ten minutes.

In the meantime, crumble the fruitcake into a bowl and add the brandy/fruitjuice. Mix well. Press the mixture firmly into round metal tablespoons.

Brush each partially baked cookie with some egg white and place one of the cake domes on top of each. Bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely before proceeding.

Place wire racks over oven tray and coat cookies with the melted dark chocolate. Allow to set at room temperature before proceeding.

Spoon melted white chocolate over top to resemble white icing on a Christmas pudding. Top with a cherrie immediately before it sets.

16 comments:

Princess Of Pink said...

I SO agree with you Marie, on sharing and reaching out on Christmas, and every other day for that matter.

If I had not been invited to share Christmas day 1 with some church friends it would have been just Elvis the kitten and me. I would have made something out of it, but would have been lonely. Day 2 is spent at home with Elvis, but that is fine, I will find things to do and watch :)

And I too have sponsored a child a few weeks ago! We gave a backpack with school items they needed, plus some extra fun things. They went to the Ukraine I believe. Did that last year too and it just felt real good to do something like that.

Many hugs from Marian and I wish you have a wonderful, blessed Christmas.

Jeanie said...

I get more out of giving than receiving Marie.
I give to my charities monthly and know that someone somewhere has had a smile of relief or happiness put into their hearts.
There is no better way than sharing our good fortune for being born in a wealthy contry.
Happy Christmas to you and Todd. I too can remember poor Christmas's, gift wise, as a child from a large family, but.. the warmth and love of our family altogether round the fire at Christmas is a stronger gift that has lasted down the years.
Much love
Jeanie xxx

Jan said...

A lovely post Marie. I really like those little pudding cookies!

Angie said...

Poor Todd, how grim it must have been for him. Just goes to show that no matter how affluent a country we think we live in, it's people who are our true riches. Money can never buy that.

love, Angie, xx

Gloria said...

Agree,agree, Marie how ever you have reason dear, I love to share in Christmas, because we have to share our joy by Jesus is arrive!!!

Love your christmas comments, and love these Christmas pudding cookies, look really nice, huggss!!Gloria

Gloria said...

I feel so sad with the Todd history and the freeze burger, Thanks God he has you know!!!And is Christmas many people is alone and for this hate Christmas (how the Grinch!) kisses to Todd!!!Christmas kisses.!!!Gloria

aliceinparis said...

This entry rings so TRUE! It's in the giving that we get the joy.Thanks for all that you do:)
Cheers, Shelagh

Raquel said...

I echo your sentiments about Christmas fully. This year everyone we could have had over already has plans, but we are having a nice quiet Christmas, Mom and Dad are coming for dinner. The cookies are too cute! Much love, Raquel XO

Sheryl said...

Your heart is so open and giving! You are ever blessing someone and it makes you a true disciple of our Lord and Savior! More should have your outlook on life. It is in the giving that we find ourselves to be who our Father in Heaven intended! Love this about you!

Tracy said...

Giving, caring and sharing...the gifts of the season! I so agree, Marie. By reaching out to others, we reach out to ourselves as well, a nice bit circle of tenderness for all. This Christmas the best for us is getting to witness our new young niece's very first Christmas--it is a gift to just see her! Your sweet treat today is fantastic, that gooey chocolate looks sooo good! Happy Day, dear friends. LOVE YOU HEAPS! ((HUGS))

Sandra said...

What a great post Marie, I couldn't agree more :)

And as for the little cakes, I love fruitcake so I definitely need to give these a try.

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New year.

Tulip said...

Dear Marie, thank you thank you thank you, I'm stuck at work doing photocopying and paperwork and I wanted some Christmas music...knew you'd have a great choice and you haven't let me down...I've had a really enjoyable afternoon listening to your christmas play list...your a star! I'm going to log on on Christmas day and use it as our lunch time music...hope you don't mind?

Grammy Staffy said...

Like "Princess of Pink" I agree with you on all that you have said in your post today.... and every day for that matter.

You bless those around you with giving of yourself and your means.

You bless all of us with your words of inspiration ,your love and your blog. Thank you for being such a good friend and good example to all of us. XOXOXXO Lura

hoLLy said...

you guys are just amazing!

and i'm a little absent from blogging due to strep. yep, strep throat. it started off mild and then came crazy strong last night. i can barely swallow or talk(i'm a complainer:) so, i went to the doctor today and tested postive. i'm just glad its strep and not the flu(its treatable!). i'm on antibiotics and should be doing much better soon. yea!

Foodista said...

Thank you so much Marie, for such an inspiring post!This recipe looks delicious!I'd like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista and share this delicious recipe with us. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia. Add a recipe and you can win a $100 gift card to Sur la table. Don't forget to register first so we know who to thank the recipe for. Thanks! See you there!

Tina said...

we are also having company come tat wouldnt have anyone on this day. take care. I enjoyed that poem.