The Lesson of Lasagna
by Katherine Peters Britton
"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the LORD helped us.'" - 1 Samuel 7:12
Life in the Peters household produced a frenetic Christmas just about every year, but that year eclipsed them all. I was eleven years old when two game-changers happened in quick succession. First, in early November, my youngest sister was born. My twin brothers hadn't yet turned two, so daily life included diaper changes for three kids in addition to the newborn routine. Just a month later, my dad was ferrying me home from a Christmas cookie exchange when a truck broadsided us. Multiple injuries kept Dad laid up for a couple weeks, right in the midst of Christmas parities and preparation.
The body of Christ carried many burdens for my overwhelmed family during the crazy season that followed. Friends cleaned the house, washed laundry, babysat so my exhausted mother could nap, put lights on our Christmas tree, took us kids Christmas shopping, and more. Even as a kid, I noticed how many people set aside their holiday bustle to lend a hand.
What I remember best, though, is the lasagna.
Church members consistently supplied us with hot meals when we would otherwise have eaten cold cereal, given the circumstances. I remember lots and lots of casseroles during the Christmas season, and - I must embarrassingly admit - my childish tastes invited me to turn up my nose at many of them. Especially the lasagna, which I barely tolerated in the best of times. During those two months, we choked down veggie lasagna that I thought tasted like printer paper, picked at lasagna surfeited with cottage cheese (I still despise cottage cheese), rejoiced over meat-lovers lasagna, and tried to get away with eating just the garlic bread someone brought as a side dish. Lord bless the folks that brought us that signature casserole, but after New Years I never wanted to see lasagna again. Ever.
Of course, the years have chugged along, I swapped out my last name, and I reticently reversed course on lasagna. The casserole has that sweetly sentimental quality of Grandma's cookies now, always reminding me of those crazy two months that began with a birth and closed with a year's end. It's my "edible Ebenezer," if you will. I know that might sound flippant, but I can't help but remember how God provided for my family during a rough patch when I smell that smell. To me, lasagna will always be synonymous with a church's love.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, when food and memories intertwine so closely, look around for the Ebenezer stones in your own life. What past events can you point to and say, "Yes, the Lord helped us there." Tell your family and friends the stories of God's grace and provision, so they too will "forget none of his benefits" (Psalms 103:2). We serve a faithful God - let's remember to look back on those markers.