Cakes have a way of making memories - or at least of marking occasions. We may have a favorite birthday cake, plans for a wedding cake, or just enjoy the current plethora of cupcake stores that abound.
Today was a beautiful day of food, music and friendship. The minuscule remnant of a devil's food creme de menthe cake with my favorite white frosting under our cake dome is all that remains from an evening shared with friends at one of those pot luck parties where the food 'works out' more than I do.
Comfortable conversation around a crackling fireplace, candlelight, and a bit of music from Ree's fingertips on the grand piano filled the air. The hearty hum mingled with laughter, clinking glasses, and coffee cups, and I wondered, how many years have I known these friends? At least 21...and some many more. I am so thankful for the memories we have shared. We have marked births and marriages together. We have stood beside one another at the funerals of husbands, parents, and alongside dear friends who are hurting. We remembered together the death of one dear friend three years ago. We have journeyed from crest to trough. Though we might prefer smooth sailing, we do not get to choose. We get it all in this package deal called life.
Life has a way of unraveling, so we are wise to keep friends close who know how to mend. Some are gifted menders. I want to be one of those! And I paused tonight to give thanks for many friends and family...and to give warm hugs for those nearby.
The way to the house of a friend is never long...
And God, too, is in the mending business. Broken hearts, broken relationships, broken dreams....nothing is beyond repair and no one beyond redemption. It was a grand plan to come and dwell among us as Emmanuel. Christ was and is and is to come. Celebrate the glorious mystery that is ours at Christmas!
The evening among friends included a favorite holiday memory since childhood: A gifted soprano looked lovingly among friends and, with a gentle accompaniment, sang "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" as beautifully as I have ever heard it. Impromtu. No rehearsal. No rehearsal needed - because Connie knows the song. Knows, as in, she could sing it in the dark. Without piano. With her eyes closed. This song is in her heart before it is on her lips.
We cannot speak what we do not know. It will not ring true. Sooner or later, it will be found out. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my hearts be acceptable in Thy sight..." Let us be the kind of friend who walks with integrity and who shoulders the load of another for a season if needed. I think sooner or later, we will need a friend like that.
The little cake I baked was a toast to friendship tonight - a meager offering for such a precious gift! Let the gladness begin.