The ornament for today is the latest in a long line of a much-loved ornament series called "Season's Treatings." Each year, a new ornament portrays a few of the edible goodies we see around this time of year. It may be said, however, that there is no food more quintessentially Christmas-y than the fruitcake.
As a food, the fruitcake has a long history. A form of fruitcake can be traced all the way back to Roman times, but it became more common during the Middle Ages. With its density and fullness, laden with nuts and fruits, this was a type of food that could be carried easily, did not need to be preserved, and above all, was very filling. Although fruitcake has certainly had its share of jokes in our time, it remains very popular and is still enjoyed the world over.
And that's a good thing. With its ability to last and last, as well as fill up empty, hungry tummies, the fruitcake is a perfect symbol of true hospitality. It takes the harvest of the fields and the fruits and nuts of the trees and, combined with a little honey or sugar, becomes something that truly satisfies.
Fruitcake is also usually something that takes a while to prepare. Often, the fruits need to be dried and are also typically soaked in a liquor or other alcohol for several days. Like hospitality, it's not a quick thing. It takes time and deliberation. Nor can it be eaten in one or two bites. It is too rich and filling, especially when served with custard or paired with a hot mug of eggnog, as in the ornament. Fruitcake forces conversation and time together.
Another unique aspect to fruitcake is that it is not typically enjoyed by youngsters, but usually really liked by older folks. We know that our taste buds change, develop and mature as we grow older, so it is no wonder that the less-sweet, chewy fruitcake is not as popular with younger children as with those who have grown older. This, too, is appropriate. It is good that we grow and change as we age, hopefully into a better form of who we are each called to be. So, this year, perhaps take the time to really appreciate the gift of fruitcake, and the hospitality that comes with it.
This blog page is a slightly different type of Advent calendar. Using ornaments, Scripture and poetry for reflection, we journey through the 28 days of Advent 2022 to Christmas morning, and the Incarnation of Christ.