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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Bread of life

Several years ago a friend of our oldest son (a junior) and our daughter (a freshman) hosted a high school Bible study in our home.

Once a week, participants would tromp downstairs to our basement where fellowship and snacks awaited. My husband and I could overhear very little of their conversation, but we'd sometimes hear bits of discussion or laughter.

One evening we heard howling laughter from the basement. We parents simply had to satisfy our curiosity. When we arrived downstairs, the students could barely speak. All they could manage to squeak out was "Cheezits!" before dissolving into giggles. One shook a big box of the cheese-flavored crackers at us.

During the Bible study, participants had been passing the box of crackers. At some point, the box had been delayed in its progress and a hungry young man impatiently turned to the holder of the box. "Cheezits," he said, gesturing to the box. Deep in thought, the other student looked blankly at the young man, who then repeated his urgent request: "CheezitsCheezitsCheezits!"

Which sounded to everyone as if he were exclaiming "Jesus!" Other participants began to snicker as they realized the source of the confusion. When one finally quipped "Cheezits — the holy snack food!" boisterous laughter erupted and any semblance of sanity left them.

"Cheezits — the holy snack food" became a family joke. A few months later the joke took a new turn.

Each Advent when I bring out our nativity set, I take the figure of baby Jesus and hide it until Christmas Eve. Since our children were little, they have made a game of hide-and-seek out of this, looking for baby Jesus all over the house.

As I walked past the nativity one day, I stopped, backed up and took a closer look. Propped in the manger was a small cheese-flavored cracker!

Naturally, none of my three teenagers would confess to placing the cracker in the manger. Nevertheless, the real figure of baby Jesus arrived in the manger as usual on Christmas Eve.

Every Advent since, a small cheese-flavored cracker has appeared in the manger. As ridiculous and fun as it is (and as much as we like the snack) Jesus never fails to make his appearance in that manger come Christmas Eve.

There is no substitute for Jesus, the true bread of life.

Lord,

Help us to remember that Christmas is all about you.

We may enjoy the fun, activity, Santa, presents, food, decorations and music, but those things are no substitute for Jesus, the real gift of Christmas, from God to us.

Thank you so much!

Amen. 


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