Sometimes I feel like I can’t be as helpful to others as if I were more mobile. For example, it would be great to go clean the house of someone who just had a baby. But really, bringing my four kids into a house with a newborn would be terribly germy and dangerous. But I can make meals to share. And when I was a new mom, the meals others brought us were such a blessing. But what to bring?
I think my favorite meal was a roast pork tenderloin with new potatoes and green beans… but I can’t quite whip that up and deliver it at 10 am. So instead, we like to bring:
I precook the crust for 7-8 minutes before I put on sauce and toppings. (The precooking keeps it from getting all soggy.) Then they can cook them at 375 until the cheese bubbles.
Creamy chicken enchiladas. (Any enchiladas, really.) My friend Lori is so smart: she lines her pan with foil and then freezes them, and then she can just hand over the frozen foil-wrapped enchiladas and keep her pan. Brilliant.
Breakfast Burritos. These are great, because you can freeze some for yourself, too. Any breakfast food, really. When SweetP was born, my friend Lori brought me cinnamon rolls and a breakfast casserole. I ate it for days, for every meal. Yum.
Cookie dough, frozen in balls. Or individually wrapped muffins.
What are your favorite dishes to share?
I love the church seasons. I love that Christmas is twelve days of feasting. I love that Advent and Lent are long enough for some contemplation and habit-forming.
We like to focus charity during Advent. The scriptures of the season certainly support this: Isaiah 61, Luke 3, Matthew 11, Luke 1:46-55. And our family needs more than just a day here or there to build a new habit. Advent is long enough that we can spend time daily thinking about the poor both far and near, and how we are called to serve them in love.
Specifics in how we flesh that out have included many things (never all in one year):
- reading about St Nicholas’s acts of charity
- giving the children a budget to spend from the World Vision (or Samaritan’s Purse, or World Relief) gift catalogs
- helping them choose some of their more gently used toys and clothes to donate to a shelter
- participating in a coat drive or food drive
- sponsoring a family for a holiday meal
- Operation Christmas Child, or giving gifts through Angel Tree
- baking cookies to give to our neighbors
- shoveling snow for our neighbors
- giving the money from our Kindness Jar (where we put loose change, allowances, fines I levy for unkind acts, bonuses I pay into the jar when I see unexpected acts of kindness between the children) to a charity of the children’s choice
- a discipline of daily prayer specifically for the needs of a group– Karen refugees from Burma, for example– or friend who is sick
At the end of Advent, some of these habits have continued– have penetrated our hearts in a new way. In way that brings God with us. Emmanuel. Isn’t that what we’re waiting for?
Find more posts on Keeping Advent at Kerry’s Blog, A Ten O’Clock Scholar.