advent devotional: the sacrament of fried chicken

On Saturdays in advent I'm thinking I'll post a couple of my past submissions to our church's Advent Devotionals. That's my plan anyway. Happy Advent, here's the first.

The Sacrament of Fried Chicken

Acts 2:46 -- They ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
1 Corinthians 15:10 -- His grace to me was not without effect.

Anna Yeager was my grandmother. She died two years ago shortly before Thanksgiving.

The most precious memories I have of her center around Christmas Eve. It was ritual for us to go to her house that night and she always made the same meal: roast pork, babiki (tiny breads with sauerkraut), and fried chicken from the A&P. That meal was a highlight of every year. There were vegetables involved too, but I was a kid and couldn't care less about those. I still think of Christmas and of Anna every time I see fried chicken in a grocery store.

As Christmases passed I grew into a busy adult. I began eating vegetables. And whatever else I was doing on Christmas Eve, I left it to go to Anna's house for the crispy Christmas chicken. Any of our few family disagreements were suspended while we broke babiki together.

Every family, traditional or not, has a Christmas ritual or two. There is a certain quality in these traditions which makes their observance into a sort of sacrament. It is the giving and receiving of grace: our family members freely offering good things to each other, fruit of their labor and their love. These are things that call us back to each other. There is power in these events to make us the kind of people we truly want to be, even if it's only for a brief time.

Thought for today: Who will God bring to me today?

Prayer: God, help me to give grace to others. Amen
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