Annunciation, John William Waterhouse, 1914
In this first chapter, Luke gives us the details of the annunciation. The angel Gabriel visits Zacharias and tells him that his wife Elizabeth will conceive and that the child should be named John. A few months later, Gabriel visited with Mary and tells her that she will conceive and that her child shall be named Jesus.
Zacharias was a priest, but when Gabriel talked with him it was clear that Zacharias didn’t believe him. As a result, he was stricken mute. Zacharias was praying in privacy in the temple, and a group of people had gathered outside to also pray. Zacharias couldn’t share his experience with the followers … because he couldn’t talk. Wow. He had been told of a miracle … that he and Elizabeth would have a son and that his son would pave the way for Messiah. He could not share the news that his son would be named John and that John would preach and share the news that the Messiah was coming. His son, John, was the opening act for the Man who would secure all mankind.
Gabriel sure was a busy messenger of God. Mary believed what he told her, but she questioned the way she would conceive, since she was a virgin. Gabriel told her not to be concerned, that anything is possible when God is in charge. Gabriel told her that her cousin, Elizabeth, an old woman who had been barren … had finally conceived.
Of course, Mary had to see that for herself, so she started the journey to visit Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth saw Mary, she exclaimed that the baby in her own womb had jumped in excitement and acknowledgement of the news Mary was about to share news that Elizabeth already knew.
John is born in the first chapter of Luke. When it was time to name him, leaders assumed his name would be Zacharias, after his father. Elizabeth said “no”, we will name him John. The leaders went right to Zacharias, who still could not speak, and asked him his opinion. He took a tablet and wrote the name John. As soon as he acknowledged that he was following God’s instructions, which had been delivered by Gabrial, Zacharias began to talk. He shared this magnificent story with all who would listen and the news of the coming Messiah spread through the land.
The most important lesson we need to take away from the Gospel of Luke … obviously are the numerous details that lead up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Therein lies our salvation. However, I find numerous messages throughout the gospel that support my standards and lifestyle! There are three themes that strike me as I ponder this first chapter of Luke. Motherhood. Angels. Blind Faith.
Motherhood: Expectant mothers, natural and adoptive, begin to worry the moment they know that a baby is coming! With all the excitement and joy, there is a big dose of reality and responsibility! Will I know how to take care of this child? Will I be able to provide for this child? These two women … one very old and the other very young … had been given responsibilities beyond belief. Mary was going to raise a Son who would change the world for all mankind. Elizabeth was going to raise a son who would come first and set the stage for that change. Indescribable responsibilities.
Angels: I need to say that I believe in angels. I believe that God used … and continues to use … heavenly bodies to guide us through times when we need help … both as individuals and as a people. We receive instruction and guidance in some way. If it isn’t from a winged figure that appears when we least expect it, it is through a sort of telepathic messaging. Sometimes when I have a hunch about something, I feel like I’m being fed a little special knowledge to help me form that hunch. “God-wink” is the new term for that! I’ll just stick to believing that my message is being whispered by an angel … or maybe one who loves me and is still protecting me even though they have passed on.
In teaching and living this first chapter of Luke, my primary focus would be on Gabriel! After all, he is the guy that delivered God’s messages. Without his messages, there is no story! We have a beautiful angel on top of a very tall Christmas tree in the nursing home where I work. The other day, I asked a few of the residents what that angel meant to them. Half of them told me that the angels announced the birth of Jesus. The other half told me that an angel told Mary she was going to have the Baby Jesus!
When I was a young woman, I taught little children in Sunday School. It is impossible to explain the virgin birth to a little child, but it is easy to talk about the angel that told Mary she would be a mother! I can remember having a heated discussion at the Sunday dinner table, when my siblings were teenagers and I was a bit younger. One proclaimed that there cannot be a virgin birth, and my Southern Baptist deacon daddy proclaimed that “with God, there can be anything”! That was the end of the conversation! Therein lies, blind faith. We believe, and nobody needs to prove anything to us. We simply believe.
My father taught me that everything is carved in stone from the beginning of time. There is a reason for everything that happens in our lives. I accepted that as a child, and now that I am older and wiser and can see why certain things have happened in my life, I surely believe that. Blind faith.
So, celebrate the angel who visited Mary and encouraged her to have blind faith. The part Gabriel played in the beginning of the story of the life of Christ cannot be underestimated! Say thank you when you place the angel on top of your Christmas tree and whip up a batch of Angel Biscuits!
They are called Angel Biscuits because they are light and airy (like any angel that flies around), but if they had a message to share, it would be “Celebrate this special season by sharing meals with family and friends”! Don't limit the use to biscuits, though. You can make doughnuts with it ... just fry them in oil and dredge them in cinnamon and sugar; turn it into pizza crust by pressing firmly in a pan using your fingers dipped in olive oil ... top it and bake it; use it for monkey bread ... savory or sweet; make herbed biscuits with it; turn larger portions into miniature loaves of bread; or roll it out and turn it into cinnamon rolls. Oh, and you can use it to top homemade chicken pie ... or drop portions into bubbling broth for delicious dumplings. ... and ... if you love fruit drop dumplings, it is perfect for that. Just drop small portions into lightly boiling fruit juice.
Mix these three ingredients together and let it stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast bubbles:
2 packages dry yeast
½ cup warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
Blend the oil and buttermilk together:
½ cup canola oil
2 cups buttermilk
Blend all the dry ingredients together:
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
Now, mix all the ingredients together until you have a nice dough. It might be a little bit sticky, but that is fine. Put it in a large covered plastic container and refrigerate it overnight. Pinch off the amount you want to bake; roll and cut your biscuits; place on a greased heavy pan; bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
I’ve accepted the challenge of reading the Gospel of Luke each day during December. One chapter a day gives us a reading for each day leading up to Christmas. During the reading of those 24 chapters, we learn everything we need to know about Jesus Christ. We read of the annunciation; the birth of Christ; his ministry, death, resurrection and ascension. That is everything a Christian need know … to understand why we are what we are! I will be blogging daily about my interpretation of each chapter.
Luke is the longest of the four gospels and the longest book in the New Testament. It is traditionally believed to have been written by Luke, although he didn’t sign his work. Luke was a friend of Paul and he traveled with Paul. Luke was a learned man. He was a physician. He was a scientific scholar who understood the culture of the time and who was well versed in the religious history. He wrote in a novelistic style that was easily followed and understood. He states clearly in the beginning of the first chapter that he is writing about things that other people witnessed and had shared. He indicates that he is going to put all those facts in chronologic order so ‘common’ people and ‘learned’ people could understand.
Who were those people? There is a lot of conjecture about the audience of the Gospel of Luke. Many believe that Luke was writing to Theophilos, but the uncertainty surrounds the identity of Theophilos. In Greek, the name means “friend of God” or “loved by God”. Some speculate that Theophilos was actually a title of a dignitary. A real person? A symbolic person representing all those loved by God? I don’t know, but what I do know is that the Gospel of Luke is easily read, and for me the importance of each chapter is easily interpreted. I hope you will accept this challenge and read along with me. I also hope that you will enjoy my interpretations, my stories and the ways I plan to focus upon each chapter’s importance! What is the Bible I we cannot translate the meaning and draw correlation to our everyday life. On my blog, there must be food, so my interpretation will always include a recipe!
I hope you follow my blog posts daily, but if you need to back track, you will find all the posts on the special page entitled “Gospel of Luke”.
Farmers' Market Thanksgiving 2019
Every family meal I prepare begins with a theme. Thanksgiving is no exception, and you can look at my past Thanksgiving meals by searching my site. For many years, the Thanksgiving feast table was set with my Johnson Brothers china. I have 24 place settings of His Royal Majesty, because the Thanksgiving meals in our home included lots of extra people ... always family, but maybe more especially ... university students who couldn't get home for the short break!
In recent years, however, I've switched the tablescape themes! I love my old traditional china, but using it also places foremost in my mind ... the memories of of my parents and my husband. Grief is cutting on holidays, so I prefer to move forward with occasional changes. This year, when my planning was turning in my mind in August, I found these adorable plates at Hobby Lobby. I knew I could build a very unique theme around this guy!
We'd spent the summer enjoying farmers markets. My daughter did cooking demonstrations at the new (tiny) market established in our hometown, and I fell in love with new vendors, including a couple German vendors, in the community where I work. As a result, my freezer is filled with vegetables and my hoard of fall harvest vegetables is bountiful! Theming our Thanksgiving dinner "Farmers' Market Thanksgiving" seemed a natural. Every vegetable on our table came from a Farmers' Market.
I love to give credit to that Pioneer Woman for this dinnerware! I love her, but when she first came onto the scene, I proclaimed that I would not buy anymore dishes because I had too much already! Big fib! I love this cobalt blue rim on these plates. The 'Bohemian' style of the pattern is just 'me'! With the place setting plan made, I began to think about the centerpiece, which I actually make on the end of the dining table!
I started digging through the turkey stash in storage and grabbed these Mexican folk art painted little candle holders. Then came the very large painted metal bird ... lots of color on him! My blown glass pumpkins in unusual colors ... and I never have problems with the flowers ... because I have arrangements and extra silk pieces stored away for the perfect party scape! Finding flowers that matched the pattern of the plates was easy!
Take a look at all this color!
Yes! The pumpkin soup bowls are bright red
and sunshine yellow!
I chose these PW place mats because of the cute pocket. Sure made setting the table a quick job! The napkin and flatware wer just tucked inside the pocket! The glassware is also PW - Dazzling Dahlias pattern that matches the dinnerware!
I always use menu cards of some kind for special dinners. I decided to roll the menu paper and tie it with raffia ribbon. The graphic on the menu page is a line of Farmers' Market booths painted in a contemporary design.
Each year, after cooking all day ... or for additonal days ... I ponder what we actually eat! The answer is simple ... turkey, dressing and pie! If that was the whole menu, everybody would be happy! This year, Phoebe asked that the mashed potatoes be placed beside her on the table! She proclaimed that she was eating turkey skin and mashed potatoes! My son-in-law is always the first to clean his plate and ask for pie! I am always the last to clean my plate, but pie is my favorite too! My daughter falls someplace in between! It doesn't surprise me that Phoebe always wants turkey skin! I really load it up with seasoning ... sometimes fresh herbs ... but always spices with a kick.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoyed my post and please don't forget to check my sidebar for blog parties! Click through to see what others did this year to celebrate Thanksgiving!
Enough of all that mushy stuff! Let me show you this beautiful tablescape!
November is a little difficult month for us. My anniversary is in November; my husband's birthday is in November; his favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. We just have a little bit of trouble staying positive, but we work hard at it. I've collected pumpkins forever, and when the blue and green ones came to the shelves of my favorite stores ... they came home with me! The duck in this end piece on the table is all about Papa Joe! He collected wooden duck decoys and they remain on display in our very rustic dining room.
What a hodgepodge for a place setting! The place mat is a Big Lots find from this year, and the flatware is Cambridge. The covered soup bowl is from World Market a few years ago; the glassware is Pioneer Woman; the plates and mugs are last year's Pier 1 feature!
If you want to see what we had to eat on this pretty table, jump over to my daughter's blog Rooted in Foods and check out the sweet potato ball recipe. The chicken breasts that show up in her pictures are Pioneer Woman's Chicken Cordon Bleu Hasselback Breasts! You can google that recipe and please do make it. Delicious!
I'll be sharing with a few blog parties, so check out my side bar list and visit those sites. Happy Weekend before Thanksgiving!
I baked these yummy rolls for family Sunday Dinner! They were so good. I use the Breadman so much that I had forgotten how easy these overnight refrigerator rolls actually are! This recipe came from my mother's school lunchroom collection! Can't go wrong.
Overnight Refrigerator Rolls
1 1/4 cups warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
1 pkg or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Sprinkle with a little of the 1/3 cup sugar.
After the yeast starts to bubble a little, add in 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the rest of the sugar, oil, egg, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer ... I use my dough hook on my Kitchen Aid. Scrape down the sides and mix for five minutes until you have a sticky ball!
Pour a little canola oil in a refrigerator container large enough to allow the dough to triple in size. Roll the ball of dough around to coat all sides with oil. Refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).
When you are ready to use it, pour it out onto a floured surface and let it rest 15 minutes. Shape the dough into 24 balls - don't overwork the dough. Place into a greased pan 13 x 9 inch pan. You can use any size pans, really ... or place the rolls on a greased baking sheet with a couple inches space between them.
Cover the rolls and place in a warm location ... Let them rise until double in size. This will take between 1 and 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for individual rolls, about 20 minutes for pan rolls, or until golden. Immediately remove rolls from pans. If desired, brush tops of rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Serve warm. Makes 2 dozen rolls.