Sous Chefs and the Incarnation

A few years ago someone gave us a book whose name I don’t exactly remember. The cover is torn off now, but it was something along the lines of “Cooking with Kids” or “Kids in the Kitchen.” You get the gist of it. We often complain that the little ones get antsy while we try to get dinner ready, so why not bring them into the process? Family togetherness, life lessons and well balanced meals.

A disaster. It doubles or triples the time of meal preparation and it quadruples the clean-up. It is hard to calculate how many cookies you are going to make when a third grader is eating the dough. If you are ever going to try something as crazy as this, just go slice-and-bake. It saves money, if you factor in Ibuprofen. Four year olds and flour sifters are a weapon of mass destruction.

And yet, when the fog has lifted, when you and your spouse have remixed the dough, then picked up the dough from the floor and placed it on the cookie sheet, and the blob becomes a half-way decent cookie, you heart melts when their eyes light up in wonder at “the cookies I made, well, you helped, mom and dad.” Yes, indeed.

Christmas is more than cooks and cookies. It is about God’s direct intervention in human history. It is God coming to be one of us, and inviting us to work with Him directly in the salvation of the world.

There is not a page of the Gospel, not a year of Church history, that is without disagreement, conflicting theories. Our history is as much a rogues’ gallery as any human genealogy. It frankly makes you question why a Supremely Intelligent Being thought it was a good idea to have us involved. Why not solve the problem with another divine, all powerful “fiat”? You can read the big time theologians for that one.

I’ll give you my view.

God is a Father, and He wanted us to help out in his plan. He came among us, down to our level, and put on an apron and got us involved. And we messed up time and time again. And He didn’t mind too much. Since He is supremely intelligent, He knew that we would make messes. It was foreseen in his plan. He thought it was worth it.

He has been there the whole time, saving us from ourselves, picking up what we drop, scooping out the excess when we pour in too much. He knows the recipe, and He is more powerful than any one of our weaknesses and moreso even than all of our collective weaknesses.

And when we marvel at the outcome and say, “Look what we did, well, with your help” He melts too. He does more than melt. He glories in it.

Because what gives glory to God is when His plan works out the way He intended it. And in this plan, we don’t get to be the big boss. We get to be little.We just get to help out. And it’s awesome. When we let God work through us, it is as wonderful as freshly baked holiday cookies. Even the slightly burnt ones.

Let’s all rediscover the magic of being God’s children this Christmas, when He comes as one of us. Let’s allow Him into our churches, and homes, and bedrooms, and kitchens. And while, we are at it, into our hearts and minds, and schools and governments.

The angels glorify God by announcing his plan; we glorify Him by carrying it out, in the little things. So let’s spend some time in silent wonder, as we thank Him for the chance to be his little sous chefs. That silence speaks volumes. It’s the Father’s heart skipping a beat.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.