I've been watching a lot of cooking shows in the past few weeks, and I've noticed something: everyone seems to know exactly what everyone else means when they say, "holiday spices". Holiday spices seem to include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and often cardamom. Now, not everything will include all of these, and sometimes a few others are tossed in, but if the chef says to gather your holiday spices, these are the things to gather.
I wonder how it is that we all seem to have come to an agreement that these are the spices to use from October through December? Did it evolve that way as one after another cook used those spices? Were they the spices most easily found during those months? Are they the ones that take us back to our homes of origin and elicit warm feelings and happy thoughts? I suspect this is a chicken and egg discussion, but however they came these do seem to be the smells and tastes of the season.
God of home and hearth, we find ourselves drawn together at this time of year. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes take us back in our memories and draw us together as friends and family. In the church we need to remember that the same thing is true: the sights, the sounds, the replaying of events is often what draws people to the church during this season. And while we need to challenge them to think and experience more broadly, we also need to remember that it is those hooks which draw them into the building to begin with. Help us to be worthy keepers of the traditions.............