Love in a Pan

Making Cinnamon Rolls with Elaine and Cadence, Christmastime,  2008
Making it Our Christmas
In 1986, my daughter Elaine was four years old. We spent Christmas in my parents’ home that year. On Christmas Eve, she and I baked cinnamon rolls for the family to enjoy on Christmas morning.
We made them again the next year. And the year after that. And every year after that.
In 2005, she moved over Thanksgiving weekend. For the first time, we baked cinnamon rolls in her kitchen that year. She was still settling in to her new place. As we kneaded, she said to me, “I don’t have to have a tree for it to be Christmas. I don’t even have to have presents. But we have to bake cinnamon rolls.”
Making cinnamon roll  is slow stuff. First we mix the dough, then we set it aside to rise for an hour. Now we have time to sit and catch up or wrap a few last-minute gifts. Next we roll the dough, spread the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, roll up the dough, slice it, and set it aside to rise again. Finally we bake the rolls, pan by pan, and glaze them. By the time the last pan is retrieved from the oven and set on a rack to cool, we’ll have devoted several hours to the project.
By sheer luck, we’ve built a tradition that comes with a built-in chunk of time together. When we baked that first batch of rolls in 1986, I had no idea that we’d do it every year. I couldn’t imagine my four-year-old as a grown woman with her own home and family. I did not foresee, back then, how precious those hours in the kitchen together each Christmas season would become.
I stumbled into a tremendous blessing that Christmas in 1986.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around;

all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the LORD,
“you will wear them all as ornaments;
you will put them on, like a bride.
Isaiah 49:18 (NIV)