So, about a month ago the women's ministry at my church asked if I'd be the Queen of the annual Cookie event. For the last several years we've chosen a Friday night and invited all the women of the church to come bake cookies. We choose 2-3 recipes and have all the stuff there with several stations with mixers, etc.
After I prayed about it, and gulped nervously, I said yes. Then all the obstacles started popping up. For example, two of my friends who would be mainstays for helping have kids' events that night. For example, we have only one oven at the church, so the cookies had to meet the following criteria:
- drop cookies only
- no chilling
- must bake at same temperature
Well, I got through that one by looking at a zillion recipes and deciding that cookie #3 would be a prebaked Gingerbread man that the youth girls can help the little girls decorate. Then I found 2 recipes I thought we could manage. And the one oven meant that some people would take home dough to bake later. And another glitch -- the people working in the kitchen and doing most of the prep have ended up with NO cookies at the end of the evening on occasion. So I contemplated a 'limit', i.e. "2 dozen of each OR dough to bake 2 dozen at home." The whole thing got more and more complicated.
And through it all I kept feeling more and more like the GRINCH!
Then on Sunday I talked to the person who purchases the supplies and asked how to quantify what I needed. She said, "you know, we're not supposed to be preparing anything here at the church. We don't have fire marshal approval." Another gulp.
But here's the cool thing. Parallel with this planning, God had been nudging me about making it more about His gift and less about how many cookies everyone gets to take home. Last year in early December we had a 1 morning retreat focusing on worship and praise and it REALLY set the holiday season in proper perspective. I was trying to figure out how those two things could go together. And now I had an obstacle that I could not overcome without ignoring the law, which is for our own safety. (The kitchen part of our church was originally part of a 50+ year old house which makes ignoring fire code regulations more risky than for many -- never mind the whole "respect authority" argument!)
BUT GOD...(don't you LOVE that phrase?) had a very different plan.
I asked the lady who put the retreat on last year (it was solely a prompting from the Lord that made her do so) to pray about how we could do something that encompasses both. She said she would, and called me back almost immediately.
What she suggested, and what I believe God is calling us to do, is to have a women's only Evensong time of worship with the prophetic passages interspersed with music, and then a small cookie fellowship (every one brings their 'best' Christmas cookie or candy). And, all of a sudden, I'm getting volunteers to help...
So...thank you God for helping me keep this in perspective! Bloggy friends, I ask you to pray for this event. It is an outreach for our non-Christian neighbors who see Christmas as the commercial event it has become and associate it with Christians.
And . . . suggestions welcome, too!