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Daily Reflections for Work during Christmas: God with Us and The Sacred Donut

by | Dec 23, 2020 | Articles, Faith and Work, Resources

I get sappy at Christmas. 

I’ve always wondered if it’s the warmth of the season, the schmaltzy music, and the cheesy Hallmark movies that make me sappy, or if I’m really this sappy all the time and just cover it up the other eleven months of the year. I believe it’s probably the latter. 

I tear up a lot more at Christmas  (pass the tissues, please). I think the older I get, the more I realize just how much I need a Savior. It’s not that I didn’t believe that before, but I think we have to live long enough to experience the futility of “the  self” before we can really  feel  our need for Jesus. This is where daily reflections for work come in, and why Christmas means so much more to me now that I’ve got a few more decades under my belt. Even though I know what the Bible says about workI know just how lost I am without Him at Christmas time. 

The Barrier 

When God came to earth as a baby, it fulfilled  thousands  of years of the prophecy of the coming Messiah. To find the last time God physically walked with man we have to go all the way back to Genesis Chapter 3. Sin didn’t just bring “bad things” into the world, it created a barrier between God and man. 

Sin  separated  us from the presence of God we were created to walk and live and dwell in. Sin doesn’t just make us prone to bad behavior, apart from God’s presence we are not even fully alive. We are not as we were created to be.  

Between the Garden and the Christmas story, God’s presence was at best veiled. First, it was the tabernacle – the temporary structure – where God’s presence rested with the Ark of the Covenant behind a large curtain. Centuries later, the temple became permanent, but the separation remained the same. Because of sin, God’s presence could no longer dwell  with  mankind. 

What the Bible says about work, as for all things, is that where sin is present, God’s holiness cannot be. This should be one of the daily reflections in the work that we do. 

The Messiah 

That’s why the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior, is so overwhelming!  Emmanuel  means “God is with us.” In the form of a tiny baby, in a way no human being could ever have dreamed up, God was making His move  toward  mankind! Where sin created an uncrossable cavern, Jesus was God’s way of doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. 

God came for us!  This  is the story of Christmas! 

But we’re not done there. When Jesus died on the cross, the Bible tells us the great temple veil was torn. That in that horrifically beautiful moment, Jesus – Emmanuel – fixed the “presence” problem that mankind had been carrying since the serpent seduced Adam and Eve. The separation was gone. 

Emmanuel  

Jesus, God  with  us, made a way for God’s presence to now reside in us through the Holy Spirit. And then in one final, glorious chapter yet to be written, Christ will come again and resurrect  all things  to their original intent – God and mankind dwelling together just as He designed us to be. 

With what the bible says about work, this is the great narrative of God in which Christmas finds its beautiful chapter, and it’s the story in which we find our own – our lives, our family, our relationships, even our  daily reflections on work.  

God truly is  with  us. Emmanuel. He came for us! And He is redeeming His creation to Himself. It’s okay if that makes you a little weepy, too.  

Daily Reflections for Work During Christmas: The Sacred Donut 

As Christmas is just around the corner, I wanted to leave with a heartwarming story that Karen Cooper shared in back 2019. I hope it will bring a little joy to you in these strange times and remind you of the value of spending time together with your family this holiday season.  

 Who could predict the longevity of a pink frosted donut with sprinkles? A tradition that began when our son was four continues today with his four-year-old daughter. A weekly trip to Dunkin’ Donuts was a highlight in the late ’80s when donuts were made on-site. The aroma of  freshly-baked  pastry lingered for blocks. A beautiful Hispanic  family rose in the early morning hours to create the kind of donuts that melted on your tongue and soothed your soul with every mouthful. It was a special time for dad and his boy who were served coffee and chocolate milk in matching mugs. 

 The donut of choice:  pink frosted with sprinkles. 

 When the owners got wind of our son’s fourth birthday, they baked him a giant-size donut as a special surprise. It was a day our son never forgot. In fact, all those mornings with Dad at the donut shop were forever engraved on his heart. It wasn’t just the delicious donut, mind you. It was that one-on-one time with his father. Picking up a mug of milk mimicking Dad’s coffee. Listening to funny stories. Laughing and learning together. The work of parenting a little boy on swiveling bar stools was what made the donut sacred. 

Fast forward to when our son became a dad. He couldn’t wait until his daughter was old enough for donuts. Most Saturday mornings, you can follow their Instagram posts at the local Dunkin’. And the favorite donut of choice just happened to become the pink frosted with sprinkles. Just like her Daddy. All his friends looked forward to the weekly posts of Dad and Daughter together. In fact, so popular were the posts that they had an array of them laser engraved on a wooden plaque to keep their memories alive. 

 Recently,  the local Dunkin’ got some bad publicity  and a tv reporter was assigned to cover the story. After knocking on doors to no avail, he just happened to see our son and granddaughter pulling into their driveway. The timing was unbelievable and totally random. As he approached them, he called out… 

“Have you ever eaten at the Dunkin’ Donut across the street, sir? ”Uh, was this a trick question? Had the man  followed him on Instagram​?  “Why, yes, sir, all the time.” 

When the reporter learned of the tradition of the pink donut, he knew he had hit the jackpot of journalism. He couldn’t believe his luck. He turned the bad publicity into a  human-interest  story. 

A real feel-good piece that warmed the heart and brought tears to the eye. With pictures proving it was all true, he was able to show our son with his dad in the original Dunkin’, and then with his daughter. Carrying on the tradition that started nearly 30 years before. Who doesn’t love a good story? 

Especially one that brings a dad and his son together. A father pouring into his child’s life over a donut because that’s what his dad did for him. It’s sacred because a meaningful tradition that shaped your own life is what you want for your daughter too. 

A reporter happening upon our son in his driveway was a random occurrence. But as a child of God, I don’t believe anything is a coincidence. I’m not sure what will become of our son and granddaughter getting their  faces on the news…other than free donuts for a year! But I do know it brought joy to our family’s hearts. It reminded us of the value of intentional time together. Of the importance of traditions to keep the generations close. Of the influence a parent has on a child’s life. And with what the Bible says about work, wknow that  all work is sacred.  The work of parenting is especially so. 

So maybe that’s why we call that little pink donut sacred.  

Merry Christmas from The Stone Table. 

Erik Cooper

After starting his career in the business world, Erik spent 12 years in full-time ministry, both on staff at a large suburban church and as a church planter in a downtown urban context. In addition to his role at The Stone Table, he also serves as the Vice President of Community Reinvestment Foundation, a nonprofit real estate company that provides high-quality affordable housing all over Indiana while investing its profits into missions through The Stone Table.

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