Baking cookies for Advent

It’s Advent, and I should be doing more to mark this season.
But lately I am feeling pulled in many directions. So many people are clamoring for my time and attention. Everywhere I turn there is a fire to put out, or at least one smoldering.
It’s a wonderful thing to be needed, and I know how blessed I am. But no matter which project I begin, I can’t seem to complete anything. Even when I think I have finished something, I discover two more things to do.

So tonight I’m baking cookies.
I take flour and sugar and butter and eggs and vanilla and fill a mixing bowl.

I roll out the dough and cut it in shapes.

I place them on a cookie sheet.
I turn on the oven to 350.
I set the timer.
When it beeps at me, I open the oven, take out the cookies, and they are done.
Just like that.

The house smells amazing. There are warm cookies sitting on my kitchen table to cool. I have something to show for my work.
No wonder people bake in these weeks leading up to Christmas. We have shopping to do and cards to send, loose ends to tie up before the end of the year, plans with family and friends to arrange, excited children to coax through the school days leading up to Christmas break. It’s a hectic time.
When I went to confession last weekend the priest said, “No one can be everything to everyone.” Do less this Advent, not more, he told me. He didn’t mean go home and bake cookies.
But as I mix and bake and count the growing pile of cookies, I realize that tonight—for once—I am not everything to everyone. I am simply someone baking cookies.
And somehow, in this moment, I have to believe that is enough.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.