The Gift of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall is a wonderful illustration of how we can all use the common things in our lives as a platform for sharing the gospel. The story is set during the Christmas season at a time when those in our own country saved pennies instead of cookies in their cookie jars as times were tough. Young Jack is so excited to return home one afternoon to the aroma of cookies baking in the kitchen.
"Cookies! But it couldn't be. Mom put every penny Dad sent home straight into the cookie jar. There hadn't been a single cookie in that jar for over a year."
The joy and amazement that Jack felt was soon deflated when he finds out that his mom was preparing these treasures for the needy at church. How could it be? Aren't we needy too?
Engaging Jack in helping to make the rest of the cookies, his mom shares with him a tale regarding how the practice of exchanging Christmas cookies began. Back in the old country hundreds of years ago, a family desired to share the gospel message of Christmas with the villagers around them. The father, a woodcarver, thought to make wooden statues that would depict the Chistmas story. His wife exclaimed that the people are hungry and we need to reach out to them. The father proceeded to whittle cookie forms for each of the characters in the Christmas story. Once the cookies were baked using the forms, the family went to the town square to share the cookies and the story of Jesus' Birth.
As a an old man stopped at Jack's own house asking for a bit of warm and something to eat, Jack stops to hope that someone is opening their home to his own Dad that has not yet returned home. As the stranger leaves, Jack remembers the Christmas cookies they had just baked. Running out of the house, he shares an angel cookie with the stranger and shares that "Long ago an angel like this one brought us the most wonderful news. 'Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'"
Although this story does not tell the story of Christ's birth, our children can reap the importance of sharing the true meaning of Christmas and the Bible message with others by using things as common as Christmas cookies. Dandi Mackall has inspired me through The
Gift of the Christmas Cookie to look for creative ways of using each of the holidays we celebrate to remind us to convey the gospel message in all signs and seasons. I guess that Valentine's heart needs to be followed up with "But God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."