During this time of the year, many people are buying loads of butter, sugar and flour at the grocery store, searching for missing attachments to their mixers and leafing through old cookbooks to find cherished Christmas cookie recipes. We, too, will be engaging in this very special American tradition. We have a great recipe for Christmas shortbread cutouts we make every December. There’s something reflective about realizing it’s time to make the cookies again every year. It makes you stop and think about what has happened the year before.
Germany (and most other countries) uses the metric system for measuring. So when we prepare an American recipe, we have to convert everything. This gets complicated. Especially with baking because everything needs to be precise. For our American friends, how much is 400 grams of sugar? For our international friends, how much is 3/4 c. milk?
This is our 3rd Christmas in Germany. For the past two years, I’ve needed to pull up an online measurement converter to convert the shortbread recipe to the metric system. This year, for the first time, I didn’t need to do that. I remembered the metric conversions. I look at this as a small accomplishment. A year ago, this didn’t happen, but this year it did. I was able to integrate an important part of our American Christmas routine into our lives in Germany, without the help of a converter. This got me thinking — where else am I functioning more independently in the culture than I did last year? The truth is, in many areas. That is a great feeling.
Our Christmas routine now has German elements and American elements. Familiar and foreign aspects together. Where before there were many “gaps” between two cultures and two ways of living, bridges are being formed. We are realizing the power of building bridges between cultures, not only for our family, but for the people we serve and do life with. And ultimately, we hope that somehow, God’s Holy Spirit is able to use our presence here to build bridges between people and Himself.