As a little girl, I looked forward to helping my mother decorate for Christmas each year. My favorite decoration was the nativity. I loved putting all of the figures in place, and finally placing the angel (with the "Gloria" banner across her chest) on top of the manger. The nativity was always set up on the fireplace and survived years of my brother and me playing with the pieces. One year, the angel was somehow lost, so we packed up the nativity without our little angel . A few months later, while dad was cleaning ashes out of the fireplace, he scooped up our little (now soot covered) angel! We wiped her off, and she was reunited with the nativity once again.
Last year, I read a story in a book entitled "A Christ Centered Christmas" by Emily Freeman. The story is about a young mother who sets up a nativity in the living room, and each day tells her little boy Caleb not to touch "Mommy's manger". She finds the figures in disarray day after day and finally and asks her little boy why he keeps rearranging the figures. Caleb responds, "because they can't see Jesus."
I love what the author writes next:
The mother looks at the nativity and sees that there was some order to the arrangement by her son. His little hands had placed every figure in a circle around the most important piece in the set, the baby in the manger. Crowded into the stable, each had a perfect view of the baby. Everyone could see Jesus.
I loved this little story and have thought all year about arranging my life so I can focus less on the world, and more on the Savior.
Thanks to each of you who teach me each day about Christ-like love and the wonderful gift we celebrate this time of year.
I've tried several breakfast casseroles on Christmas over the years, this is our family favorite. This recipe originated from Gourmet magazine back in 2004. I tweaked it and use store bought rolls for the bread layer. The result is a dish that tastes more like a savory bread pudding, than a breakfast casserole. Perfect with some home made salsa, fruit and coffeecake.
Cowboy Christmas Breakfast
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, 2004
8-10 thick white rolls, split in half and buttered on the inside (any type works, Costco rolls, homemade, etc)
1 ½ lb Italian or spicy sausage
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped
2-3 cups grated cheese, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack or a combo
10 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
The night before serving, grease a 9x13 pan.
Lay the split and buttered rolls in the prepared pan, buttered side up.
Brown the sausage and pour the cooked meat into a dish lined with paper towels. Let the grease drain from the sausage. Using the pan the meat was cooked in, place the pan back on the stove at medium high heat, and cook the chopped onion for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the clove of garlic and cook one additional minute.
Place the cooked sausage, onions, garlic on top of the rolls in pan.
Top with grated cheese.
Beat the eggs and milk together in a blender or bowl. Add the dry mustard, salt and pepper.
Pour this mixture over the rolls in the pan. Cover with foil that has been buttered on bottom side and store overnight in refrigerator.
The next morning, remove casserole from fridge, pre heat oven to 375.
Bake covered for 30 minutes, then carefully remove foil and bake until top is slightly puffed and custard is set in center, about 30 minutes more.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, cut into 12 squares and serve immediately.