But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
The Israelites were suffering under oppression as Babylon had taken them away from their homeland into exile. Broken and lost, they feared for what the future held.
Isaiah reminded the people that God created them and still remembered them. He called them not to fear, for God is still here, “for you are mine”. Even if you pass through every torrent and flood, every flame and fire, they shall not overwhelm nor consume you. He is our protector and Savior.
Today, he calls us not to fear, even as tribulations stack up ahead like a steep, snowy mountain. The Lord your God has sent a Savior, his only Son, Jesus. This is our hope, even in this chaotic year of 2020.
Rice pudding is one of my favorite things to make - and eat! - at Christmas. Always a part of our Christmas Eve julbord buffet, it is wonderful for breakfast too, warmed with lingonberry sauce on top! (You can get lingonberry sauce at CostPlus World Market or Ikea.)
Funny story: When I was in my high school home economics class we were asked to bring a recipe that was traditionally made in our family. I chose rice pudding. Never having made the dish myself, I did not know I was supposed to cook the rice first! Instead, I put uncooked rice in with the milk and other ingredients and baked as directed. The result was a very crunchy rice pudding! And, a funny memory that we still joke about today.
There are many wonderful recipes in the FCC cookbook, For Better and for Best, that have been passed down through the generations. The cookbook, pictured here, was first published in 1970 at the time we were building our church on Redwood Road. The proceeds from cookbook sales were used to buy a refrigerator and other equipment for the new kitchen. These days we often pull out this cookbook, make something wonderful and remember our FCC friends who submitted the recipe. I am sharing the recipe we use each Christmas for Custard Rice Pudding from Theola Englund. Enjoy!