She meant it as a joke. I wanted an apron for Christmas, so my mother-in-law gift-wrapped her mother’s old home-sewn kitchen smock. Its faded chrysanthemums and frilly trim were nowhere near my style. I laughed like a good sport and stuffed the tattered apron in a cupboard drawer.
That was seven years ago. “Granny Apron,” as I like to call it, is now my culinary soul sister.
Our unlikely friendship began a few weeks after the holiday prank, when I was rolling pizza dough and collecting more flour on my sweater than on the bread board. In a moment of desperation, I grabbed the hand-me-down joke and threw it over my head. That night for dinner, my husband and I devoured the best darn pizza we’d ever tasted.
Coincidence? I couldn’t know for sure. So I wore the apron again to bake a cake, then muffins, then tuna noodle casserole.
At first our relationship was purely functional. Granny’s threadbare cotton soaked up smudges of olive oil and melted chocolate without a fuss, and her ugly print hid every stain.
After a while, I grew fond of the apron’s fit. It was cozy, flexible, feminine. The pleats hugged my bulging belly through two pregnancies, as if Granny was protecting those babies from random pudding spills and electric beater flyaways. Now sometimes, after I pull the last batch of cookies from the oven, I forget to take the apron off. My husband comes home from work to find Granny still tied around my waist.
Once upon a time, I thought I wanted a sleek new apron from Williams-Sonoma. Instead, what I received was acceptance into a line of comfort food cooks with their handwritten recipes and their love kneaded into every loaf.
That’s such a better gift.
Have you ever asked for diamonds and received a blender? Prayed for a heart’s desire and wondered why God gave you heartache instead? Maybe what you got was actually the better deal.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows,” (James 1:17).
Two thousand years ago, the world begged for a savior. God’s people eagerly anticipated a grand and mighty king. What they got was a baby, born in a stable from the womb of a teenage girl.
Unexpected? Yes. But definitely not the inferior gift.
In fact, it was the greatest gift of all time.
How will you receive it?
This week, may you unwrap the deeper meaning, and find joy not just in the gifts but especially the Giver. Merry Christmas, friends.
P.S. I’m sharing a special story this week on Beth Steffaniak’s excellent blog, Messy Marriage. Will you join me there?