Ever notice how guests tend to gravitate toward the kitchen? The kitchen is the center of the home in so many ways. Food certainly explains some of that, but it's not the only important thing. There's a certain coziness about the best kitchens that just makes one almost unconsciously relax. A home with the most formal of living rooms might still have a warm kitchen full of tasty treats, good smells and warm light.
This is my first Advent season where I've really been able to focus my efforts homeward. In past years, work schedules made this time of year a frustratingly haphazard affair. I'm still busy, but this year I'm able to focus my efforts not only on homemaking but also on using the fruits of my work to reach out to people around me. Some days it's really hard to see homemaking as ministry. However, the traditions of Advent make this a wonderful opportunity to minister not only to our own families, but to use our homes as a place of ministry to others around us.
I''m not feeling brave enough to throw a giant Christmas party yet, but I've been finding so many ways to use this season to try to bless others. Maybe it's because I love to cook, but I find a lot of these things are kitchen-centered. So, what are some ways to minister to others from our kitchens this Advent?
Create a warm center for your home - In many ways, the kitchen really is the center of the home and a lot of architecture plans reflect this. I capitalize on my kitchen's location by burning scented candles in there, and this year I'm trying a lovely stovetop potpourri recipe from A Pause on the Path. This helps set a comfortable mood all throughout my house.
Treats! - I LOVE Christmas baking season. I make cookies every year, and I enjoy making pies(pecan pie - yum!) for family gatherings and other things of this nature. Not only does my family enjoy the Christmas treats, but I find that cookies and pies make wonderful gifts for friends. A little Christmas spirit in the form of cookies also makes a great way to meet new neighbors and/or invite them to church.
Decoration - I'm not one of those people who has tons of Christmas decor all over the house, but I do like to put a few things here and there. And the kitchen is a great place to prepare the house for Advent. IN addition to making up homemade decorations, I like to put up Christmas linens and in remembrance of the Advent season, we write up a different Bible verse on the little chalkboard over our breakfast table every morning. We atart in the Old Testament, and then move to the Gospels as Christmas Day approaches.
Fellowship - You know how I mentioned that groups tend to gravitate toward the kitchen? Well, sometimes I'll just start there and invite a friend or two over for coffee and Christmas cookies.
So, what do you like to do with your Advent kitchen?