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From Intern Quentin . . .

Grace and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ,

Growing up in my family, December meant several things – birthdays, Christmas Day, and cookies. And that last one is a big deal because my mom always goes all out with baking cookies throughout the entire month of December. There was peanut butter, chocolate chip, sugar, chocolate-walnut, and so much more. And what is miraculous about all these cookies, is that regardless of how sweet they taste, they still require the smallest pinch of salt in the recipe.  In baking and in cooking, salt is an ingredient that draws out the flavors already present to emphasize them in the final, baked good.

And that miraculous power of salt – to draw out, to emphasize what is already there – reminds me of a message from one of the more recent Santa Claus movies. In the Netflix original Klaus (2019), the origins of Santa Claus are re-explored and retold; and it has been one of my favorite versions of the story. One of the things the film does, like salt in a cookie, is draw out and emphasize an important message about Christmas: “a true selfless act always sparks another.” And as the film unfolds, we get to see how the selfless acts of a mailman (Jesper) and a woodsman (Klaus) transform an entire town turned against itself into a community of kindness and generosity.

And I think when we combine the truth about the smallest pinch of salt in Christmas cookies with the truthful lesson from Klaus, we have a fitting explanation for what Jesus means when he tells the crowd gathered that they are “salt of the earth” (Matt 5:13, NRSVue). That as we enter this month of December – a time of cheer, preparation, and baking – we remember how the smallest act of selflessness sparks another. That the smallest act of kindness sparks a transformation. That the smallest act of generosity during the coldest and darkest days of the year sparks, draws out, and emphasizes the generosity in others.

In remembering and doing these acts, especially small ones, we live out this call to be “salt of the earth.” In remembering and doing these acts, we live into the transforming power and act of Christ’s entrance into the world that we celebrate, share, and wait with joy for Christ’s entrance again. So, this month of December, I invite you to remember to be that pinch of “salt of the earth;” to draw out and emphasize the selflessness, kindness, and generosity of the Advent and Christmas season as we celebrate, share, and wait.

Peace and Blessings,
Quentin Surace