Blog from Vicar Sommer
As we head into the season of Advent, I thought I would share a family tradition of mine with your family. Many people who think of Advent traditions, think of Advent Wreaths. This is a beautiful tradition that we have in worship, but many families also use this tradition at home. Our family never had an Advent Wreath, but we had a tradition in baking. My family lineage is all German. Both sets of Grandparents were from Germany, or their parents came from Germany. If you can think of anything more Lutheran than that of sharing food, my family was both very Lutheran and German in our holiday traditions. Each year, at the beginning of Advent, my Oma and Mother would start the arduous task of preparing Christstollen or Dresden Stollen. This is a loaf of fruit bread dating back to the 14th century. What used to be rather dense and flavorless turned into a savory and sweet loaf of bread that had Christian symbolism attached. My mother and Oma would get together and prepare dozens of loaves to give as gifts to family, friends, neighbors, and the pastor of our church. Each loaf was for a recipient and each loaf was prepared with that recipient in mind. We would knead the dough with prayers of peace, warmth, special prayers if the recipient was going through something difficult, and we let each loaf rise with patience and care. To say each Stollen was made with love was an understatement. Once baked, the Christstollen cooled and would be doused with powdered sugar. It looked like a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth. Our kitchen would soon have mounds of carefully wrapped white packaged loaves with the name of the person on it, each would be hand delivered with a special message attached to the tags. The very last loaf would be for us to enjoy on Christmas morning, warmed up, with a slather of butter on top. Advent is all about the anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, to save us from our sins. The steps involved in the meticulous baking of the Stollen reminds me of that anticipation for Christmas morning. There is patience needed, watching, waiting, and finally you get to enjoy the bread given for you. As we approach Advent, we wait ever so patiently for the infant to come to us, knowing this gift from God will be the Messiah. The excitement and anticipation is felt in our scriptures, promising the coming of Christ.
Whatever your family does to celebrate the anticipation of Christmas, whether it be a Christstollen or a beautifully put together Advent Wreath, we celebrate hope, we celebrate love, joy, and peace together as Christians. I wish you all of those things this Advent season.
If anyone would like our family recipe for Dresden Christstollen, let me know- I would love to share it. God Bless.