Christmas Goodies Ingredients: A Lesson about Justice and Mercy

Christmas Goodies Ingredients: A Lesson about Justice and Mercy December 28, 2018

Shopping is not something I generally enjoy. I’m not sure how I missed that “female gene.”  I used to joke about needing “retail therapy,” but I’ve swung pretty far back on the pendulum and now view shopping as a loathsome task.

Still, there are activities I enjoy that involve shopping as foundational. In order to drop off goodies, I need groceries to make those goodies.

And with that activity in mind, Christmas rapidly approached.  With all of my Christmas shopping electronically done by November, I hadn’t felt a great need to go grocery shopping, which I usually do every four to six weeks. Anthony grabs little things he wants/needs in the interim.

I bought groceries right before Thanksgiving, so my supplies were waning. I realized the deficit when I tried to make a pie for a potluck we attended Sunday night. The eggs were gone. I looked online for an egg substitute and tried it with disastrous results. I laughed and laughed at my jiggly pie.

In order to deliver treats on Christmas Day, I knew I needed to buy ingredients.

Buying the Necessary Ingredients

I took my list and decided to just go to Costco and do all my shopping at once. I planned to be there right as the store opened to hopefully miss the later crowds. As I approached Costco’s block, I noticed lots of traffic in the turn lane. I decided to go to the next light and park at the end of the parking lot where there are always parking spots.

As I drove parallel to the store, I saw cars crawling in search of a parking space.  I looked towards the end of the parking lot.  The usual blank space was filled with cars.

Whoa.  Intense. No way. I kept driving right past the entrance.

What was I thinking?  Obviously, I’d never shopped at Costco on Christmas Eve.

The road I drove led the Target, so I just decided to go there. I muttered to myself that I could have gone to Target or a number of other stores at 6:00 AM when I was awake but wanted to save a buck at Costco so waited until it opened mid-morning. Admittedly, the thought did come to go grocery shopping at 6:00 AM. But I thought my plans were more efficient than the prompting I received.

So I parked at the end of the ginormous Target parking lot. I found a cart outside and pushed it in, assuming carts would be hard to find inside the store. As I entered the store, I braced myself and pushed the cart forward.

Merry Christmas to all, I moaned. Actually, I did try to be cheerful and kind while meandering through the throngs.

I rarely shop at Target because it’s “so far” from my house so didn’t know where to find everything I needed. One of the reasons it took so long to find was because the major things I needed were absolutely sold out. No sugar. No graham crackers. Only unsalted butter left. No small ham. No carrots. No cream of chicken soups. Only a few chocolate chip options. Hurricane Christmas Dinner had hit Target.

I assuaged my shock by stocking up on tortilla chips and queso.

I stood in the graham cracker aisle googling alternatives to graham cracker crust. Then on the next aisle over, googled again to see if I could use brown sugar in my recipes instead of white sugar.

I felt the effects of justice applying to my series of procrastinated decisions. Procrastination jeopardized my good intentions.

Did anybody need my treats to have a more joyful Christmas? No.

But I needed to give treats to have a more joyful Christmas. Our holidays look very different from most families’ holidays. I needed that focus on creation and giving to help me honor the Savior’s gift to our family.

Something astonishing happened. On a group text with two friends, I warned about Costco’s parking lot. The night before, I sent a video of my jiggly pie to them. It was hilarious. I celebrate failures by laughing.

They instantly surmised I needed eggs. One friend offered eggs. So kind!

I was already at Target, so just said I’d get what I needed.   But I texted my shock when I started hitting empty shelving. They both began offering the missing items—sugar, butter, graham crackers. Everything I mentioned, they willingly offered what they had.

And so, as I stood googling alternatives to graham cracker crusts, I felt the Holy Ghost teaching me about justice and mercy.

I’d procrastinated the day of my goodies’ creation and missed the ingredients necessary to create exactly what I had planned. But through an unexpected grace, others offered up the ingredients I couldn’t buy.

What a perfect lesson about what the Savior’s grace really is.  He offers the ingredients I need to present myself before God. Without Him, every offering I give falls flat.

I knew that really, but a new little piece of understanding grew when I realized that as I identified lacking ingredients and couldn’t get them myself, that’s when the mercy arrived.  Until I knew what I lacked couldn’t be “made up” by me, I didn’t care about justice or mercy. As soon as I understood my plight, I recognized my weakness in planning and inability to acquire what I needed.

I ultimately decided on alternatives to everything I lacked and the goodies and our Christmas dinner turned out OK.   But while cooking and delivering the treats, I mused on the singular lesson I’d received because I lacked ingredients and went grocery shopping.





"We should be careful about taking a ceremonial Law from the Old Testament and telling ..."

Blessings of Tithing
"I've had the Patheos email with this post in it saved to read since April. ..."

Why Didn’t He Answer Me? My ..."
"That's the end of the vision? is it because the men in white coats came ..."

Jesus Rises From the Tomb
"Shere bunkum. I have a PhD in Gnosticism and this smacks at that. Thank goodness ..."

Jesus’ Burial in the Tomb

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!