One of my favorite short stories is Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” It recalls a boy named Buddy and his annual Christmas tradition of making fruitcakes with an elderly cousin. One morning the cousin exclaims, “Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather! I knew it before I got out of bed the courthouse bell sounded so cold and clear. And there were no birds singing; they’ve gone to warmer country, yes indeed. Oh, Buddy, stop stuffing biscuit and fetch our buggy. Help me find my hat. We’ve thirty cakes to bake.”
The story is vivid, humorous, and bittersweet as the duo gathers ingredients for fruitcakes. One of my favorite passages is Capote’s description of who receives the cakes, “President Roosevelt, the little knife grinder who comes through town twice a year, Abner Packer, the driver of the six o clock bus from Mobile, and the young Wistons, a California couple whose car one afternoon broke down outside the house and who spent a pleasant hour chatting with us on the porch. Not family and friends who would be insulted if they did not receive a cake, but acquaintances and heroes for whom they have genuine affection. They, make us feel connected to eventful worlds beyond the kitchen with its view of a sky that stops.”
The birth of Christ makes this connectedness possible. Because God came to live among us, we are in relationship with, not only those who share our name or common interests, but all of humanity. And the incarnation, the Emmanuel, the God-with-us, hallows our relationships and connects all of us with God. We may feel trapped or alone in this season, like Buddy in his kitchen, or this may be our favorite and most joyous time of year. Regardless, we are not alone. In the season of Advent and during the feast of Christmas, we remember our connectedness, to all of the fruitcakes in this world, and we are called to reach out to them and love them like Buddy and his cousin. As they prayed in King’s College Chapel yesterday, “in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.”
May the newborn Christ bless all you love, this holy day, and all days. See you at the Chapel.
Keep the Faith,