Today I bought materials to make 912 cups of hot chocolate and I am praying that I will need to buy more before too long. I’ll explain that at another time.
Hot chocolate signifies winter to me. It is a perfect drink – warm, chocolate, and (if you buy the kind that we keep at home) not too pricey in the calorie count. I am not a huge fan of marshmallows in my hot chocolate mug, but I won’t turn them away either.
A friend of mind once shared with me that her favorite moment in our home was when I pointed out the steaming tea kettle on the stove and the packages of hot chocolate mix. I told our guests to make a cup if they so desired. She explains that it felt so “comfortable, so homey” to go into our kitchen and to mix up a cup of hot chocolate. I like that. I think that it is impossible to drink hot chocolate and feel uncomfortable.
When I was teaching high school, hot chocolate in the winter was a staple for me. I would scrape off enough of the ice on the windshield to allow me to drive safely to a nearby convenience store. I would park the car, bump up the defroster fan, lock the doors, and head into the store to get a large cup of cocoa. After a few minutes, the car windows would be clear of ice and I would be warm inside. The cup of hot chocolate and I would make the 30-minute drive in a warm and quiet car – the perfect way to prepare for a busy day with hundreds of teenagers!
But, my love of cocoa started much earlier than my teaching years. I was probably 5 or 6 when my two older siblings discovered my love for the beverage. I really, really liked it and they really, really liked money. A plot was hatched – none of us really know how long the scheme lasted before the folks put an end to it. But, my dear, protective, loving sister and brother explained to me that the beverage they were serving me was hot chocolate and that I could have a cup for a mere nickel – only five cents! I made the purchase and loved the beverage. The fact that it was not hot chocolate, but only hot water from the bathroom sink, did not seem to register with me. Instead, I enjoyed their version of “cocoa” and they liked the nickels. It was unfortunate for us both when the parents put an end to the transactions.
Hot chocolate from a packaged mix, from an expensive machine at the coffee shop, or even from the bathroom sink can bring joy. Hot chocolate makes us warm when we are cold. It forces us to slow down when we may be rushing around too much. And, it brings us memories of home, of loved ones, of quieter moments.
Don’t push too hard this holiday season to make the tree perfect or the present the “best one ever.” Don’t get excited when that string of lights in the middle of the tree keep flashing off and on. Instead, get yourself a cup of hot chocolate and relax.
And, if your pantry doesn’t hold the ingredients and the fancy coffee shop is too far away, just try hot water from the bathroom sink. It’s not bad and, better yet, it will make you smile.
Christmas joy comes from simple things.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)