As we begin to mix the batter for peanut butter kiss cookies (my grandson’s -GS’s – choice), I hum to the Christmas music in the background. GS has refused to wear my “Christmas apron” that I bring out every December for cookie-baking.
GS is all-boy, immature for his age in some ways while being wise beyond his years. Last year as we mixed the sugar and flour, he confessed to me that he was 158 years old.
I believed him. I still do.
The apron is bright reds and greens and black, ruffled at the bottom with fluffy sayings like “Enjoy every bite.”
“Of course it is,” I proclaim. And then we read every word on it – “Home Sweet Home,” “Bloom Where You’re Planted,” surrounded by red cherries and flowers, but not one Merry and not one Christmas. Shoot, he’s right!
He beats the heck out of the batter with great enjoyment as I add baking soda and salt, then eggs and finally the peanut butter. As his arm muscles stiffen, he asks me a deep question. “How come Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus?”
Huh? I know that GS and his mom have recently watched a video about Jesus, since GS has never attended Sunday School.
“Well, the story is that Jesus was born in a manger because his parents couldn’t afford to stay in an inn, and yet a large star shone above the barn, and shepherds and wealthy merchants all came to celebrate his birth,” I say.
“Uh huh,” GS responds, holding the mixing bowl with one hand, the beater with another, his tongue out in concentration.
“And, um, that happened about 2, 021 years ago,” I continue, “and much of the world goes by a calendar that starts with his birth.”
The beater stops, and GS looks up at me with skepticism. “Then how come December 25 isn’t the first day of the year? Why do we have a New Year’s Day a week later?”
Damn if I know. I never asked those questions when I was 10. Or 50. “Well, because…”
GS interrupts: “Plus, they say that Jesus was born in March.”
I turn the Christmas music up louder and suggest, “Time to roll this dough into balls and around the sugar, then pop them into the oven.”
Baking rumination is hard work!