I never thought of putting Christmas and collards in the same sentence until Sunday, and that was by accident, but I’m glad it turned out that way.

I had a chance to preach for the first Sunday of Advent, which always gets me to thinking about the importance of hope for anyone’s life, and particularly the role of prophetic and messianic hope in Israelite thought, hopes that were ultimately fleshed out in Jesus. At a time of the year when many people find old griefs refreshed by the holidays, hope is a particularly meaningful theme.

And that has nothing in particular to do with collards, other than that I planted some this fall for the first time, hoping that they would mature in time. They turned out nicely, and following a couple of mornings of heavy frost, I thought it might be time to try my hand at cooking some — also a first — and I hoped that they would turn out well.

So, I pulled about ten big leaves and chopped them up, then boiled them down in some water laced with salt, a couple of slices of bacon, and a pinch of chicken bouillon. Up until a few years ago, I had assumed that I would not like collards — until I tried some, and thought they were pretty good. I’ve eaten quite a few collards from several different places since then, but I don’t think any of them tasted any better than mine. Given that Samuel is still several years away from giving them a try, I had the entire pot to myself, and the only thing missing was cornbread.

If my hopes for the coming season turn out as well as my collards did, it could be a very good Christmas, indeed.

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