Ideally, I would have had this post up a week ago so you could actually make these cookies for various holiday festivities.  But while I intended to have all my Christmas t's crossed and i's dotted a few weeks ago, leaving only cookies to worry about this past week, I'll admit I've been wrapping, cleaning, and baking right up until pretty much now.  So, while it's unlikely this post will do you much good immediately, it is an opportunity for me to pop in and wish you a very merry Christmas.  I wrote this in our Christmas letter to friends and family this year, and it's true: "Christ arrived with purpose.  By his death on the cross he made a way for a world of broken, rebellious people to be right before God again.  Without this willing sacrifice, we'd stand condemned before God and still lost in our sin.  Without the birth, death, and resurrection of the Holy Son of God, we'd be without hope.  I'm so thankful that Jesus came.  Because He did, we have so much to celebrate at Christmas."

Of the Christmas CDs we've added to our collection this year, I'm particularly loving Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God.  You can listen to the whole album here.  I think While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks is my favorite, simple and eloquent in its retelling of the Christmas story...

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around

"Fear not!" said he; for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind

To you in David's house this day
Is born of David's line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign:

The heavenly babe you there shall find
to human view displayed
All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands
And in a manger laid"

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Christ is born
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Christ is born

"All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be peace
Good will henceforth from God to man
Begin and never cease"

On my daughter’s birthday a few weeks ago we put together a little gingerbread house. Since I think all the enjoyment comes from decorating it, taste wasn’t the primary concern. I took the easy route and bought a kit.  It came out cute as a button, but the spicy smell just about drove my daughter crazy.  She wanted to eat it so bad.  I promised to make a more appetizing ginger treat soon, and kept my word with some gingersnaps.  While I prefer a soft and chewy ginger cookie, hubby insists gingersnaps are meant to snap, so I purposefully sought out a recipe that guaranteed a “thin, crisp, crinkly topped gingersnap.”  I might be a convert. They come together in a snap, too.

Gingersnaps (from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book)

¾ c. vegetable shortening
1 c. sugar, plus extra to roll the cookies in
1 egg
¼ c. molasses
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 T. powdered ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease some cookie sheets or line with parchment.
Beat shortening and 1 c. sugar together.  Add egg, and beat until light and fluffy, then add the molasses.  Stir together the flour, soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon, and add it to the shortening mixture, beating until smooth and blended.
Roll 1” balls of the dough in sugar.  Place 2” apart on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies have spread and the tops have cracked.  Remove from sheets and cool completely.

The other items on my cookie tray this year are Peanut Blossoms, Raspberry Jam Strips, Peppermint Cake Roll, and Spritz trees. 

Merry Christmas!  To borrow from Andrew again, 

Gather 'round, remember now
How creation held its breath
How it let out a sigh
And it filled up the sky with the angels
Son of God, Son of Man

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but he made himself nothing
Well he gave up his pride and he came here to die
Like a man
Therefore God exalted him
To the place of highest praises
And he gave him a name above every name
That at the very name of Jesus, Son of God

We would sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but he made himself nothing...

Praying you'd sing with joy over our Emmanuel this Christmas!


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