Each year around this time growing up, I would spend a Saturday with my father in the kitchen baking German cookies that we called pepper-nuts. My mother would always leave the house because she hated the mess. However, my siblings and I would continue to help my dad make these anise and molasses cookies, year after year. The process was long and sometimes annoying, but there was always a level of excitement when dad took the dough out of the pot and rolled it into long snakes on a cookie sheet. This time always allowed for stories about when my dad was younger and he would make these same Christmas treats with his grandmother. You could see the happiness and joy in his eyes when he remembered this time. To this day, I look forward to being home when he takes these cookies out of the oven. It makes me remember a simpler time, with no responsibility for bills to pay, futures to worry about, and the many other things that come with being an adult. It was a time of being a child. A time of remembering; just like my father, I remember the different years and the different people that were invited to help us make these special cookies.
During this season of Advent, we do this same thing. We remember the good times and the bad times. We remember the times that we have experienced at different points in our lives, as children and as adults. We also remember the gift that God sent us, Jesus, to free us from our slavery to sin. This season is a reminder that “we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman. For freedom in Christ has set us free.” Whether we are old or young, we are all children that have been set free by Christ. Our souls long to be in union with Christ and by God’s grace, the Spirit frees us to live into that union that has been shaped by God’s love. We remember this promise and are given evidence of it through the words that were given to Sarah all the way back in Genesis to us today. This assurance of freedom and love is one that we not only get to remember, but one that we get to experience because of the love that God has given to us. Now that I am grown and moved away from my family, I still look forward to coming home to the faint smell of cookies in the air, with the final products sitting on the counter waiting for me and my siblings to devour them. I remember all of the laughing and fighting, smiling and crying, spent with my family. As Christians, especially during this season in our lives, we should look forward to this time of remembering that we are also children of God and that through the Christ-child, we are set free, to laugh and struggle, smile and cry.