Food is such a valued part of the American experience. If someone is celebrating a birthday, wedding, promotion, or new house, we use food to expand that celebration. If someone is mourning the death of family member, the loss of a job, the devastation of a natural disaster or the end of a relationship, we use food to comfort. Want to catch up with a friend? Go to lunch. Need to exchange a gift at Christmas? Give fruitcake.
Breaking bread with others is a very special occasion, regardless the reason for food exchange. The early believers in the Bible understood this concept of expanding community through the breaking of bread. They further understood that Christ did not intend for us to live in isolation, but rather to interact with others. In our culture, that often requires the use of food for those interactions.
Jesus modeled the behavior of interacting with others while breaking bread for us. We see him feasting at Matthew’s house with tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10). We see him dining at Martha’s home. We see His last and very impactful last “breaking of bread” while in the Upper Room prior to his trial and execution.
Jesus did not retreat from others while they were celebrating or in pain. He used it as an opportunity to reach out and connect with others. Like in the time Jesus was on Earth as a man, we are also surrounded by those who are longing for the invitation to break bread with us. They want connection and inclusion.
The American way is through food. More importantly, it’s also the Jesus way.
As we move into the craziness of the Christmas season, think about inviting someone to share a meal with you this week…break bread with them. If you’re feeling really ambitious, take them a baked good or casserole and encourage them to break bread with others.
Break bread together…make happy mouths!
During Thanksgiving through Christmas, my “go-to” breaking-bread-dessert is my Great-Grandmother’s Cranberry Pudding, which is a dense cranberry cake with a warm buttery sauce to pour over the top. The recipe is listed below:
Great-Grandma Johnson’s Cranberry Pudding
6 TBl Butter
2 cups white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk!)
1 (12 oz) package of fresh (or frozen) cranberries
Hot Butter Sauce: (I double the sauce recipe because I LOVE extra on the cake slices)
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (or you can use a 8×8 pan). Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the 6 tablespoons butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the evaporated milk. Stir in the cranberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the Hot Butter Sauce:
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve slices of cake generously covered with hot butter sauce. (Sauce can be re-heated for leftover cake)