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Monday, December 5, 2011

T’is the season…

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

T’is the season…

"Comfort ye, comfort ye My people," saith your God.  
"Speak ye comfortingly to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received from the LORD'S hand double for all her sins."  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: "Prepare ye the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Isaiah 40:1-3 (KVJ21)

Last night, my family attended a community performance of Handel’s Messiah.  For the uninitiated, Messiah is an oratorio, an opera written to be sung, not acted, on the life of Christ told through scripture, from Old Testament prophecies about His birth through His life, death, resurrection and finally His glorification in Heaven.  I grew up with Messiah, as both a church musician and dancer.  I’ve sung the work in performance, as well as having the honor to minister through dance a modern interpretation of “And He Shall Purify,” performed by Tremaine Hawkins in Handel’s Messiah, :A Soulful Celebration.  I just didn’t realize how much I’d missed it, or how desperately, like water to parched ground, I needed it. 

Sitting here at the keyboard, listening to my modern rendition, I wipe tears.  I needed the launch to my Christmas season, and even more, I needed words of comfort.  Despite our children who squirmed and chafed through about 4 hours worth of performances that included recital-worthy piano, symphonic bells and harp pieces by young music students (as a veteran of elementary school talent shows, I’ve learned that nobody’s child, including my own, is cute after 90 seconds…), but they’ll sit through it again next year, as well as suffering (or not) to listen to my Quincy Jones CD.  I enjoyed it.  I enthusiastically sang the Hallelujah Chorus (twice), and was stirred and smiling the rest of the evening.

It’s officially Christmas.  I don’t need any presents.  I don’t like shopping.  I want to bake, and clean, and prepare for a miracle.  As the year ends, the message of comfort so resonates with me…we are a nation is crisis, transition, filled with fear, uncertainty, in desperate need of a miracle.  Imagine the promise, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” We are comforted.  We are forgiven; our iniquities pardoned.  Deep sigh……

Lord, thank you for comfort, and for joy.  Thank You for sending me a beacon in a Christmas concert.  Thank You for the private joy of music that soothes, and speaks to me, in the random quiet of my office space.  Truly, You are an awesome and omnipresent God, to get me at this time, at this place, at this moment.

I already have my Christmas present.  Comfort.  And I am again assured…God is Good.

Today’s feast: Roasted Boneless leg of lamb, pot roast style

Back story~This is pretty much how I learned to make a pot roast from my mommy, of course I jazzed it up with a thing or two.  After last night’s concert, we came home to a house fragrant with rosemary, garlic, roast lamb, and had a Sunday evening supper fit to celebrate the birth of a Baby King.  Serve with sparkling pear and apple cider and an arugula salad, simple dressed with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette, and enjoy, like we did.

4 lb boneless leg of lamb (I find them on sale occasionally at Costco)
5-6 large garlic cloves
2-3 T olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
3-4 springs rosemary
¼ t sea salt (or kosher)
Pepper to taste
5-6 medium potatoes, cut into wedges
1 C baby carrots
1 medium onion, rough chopped
1 bell pepper, rough chopped
2/3 C ginger beer (I’ll post a recipe eventually, you could always use stock or water)
½ C dry vermouth

Make a seasoning paste by crushing the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and rosemary in a mortar and pestle.  Add pepper, and use the sea salt as an abrasive.  Rub the seasoning paste all over the roast and set aside. 

To a warming crock pot, add the potatoes, carrots, onions, peppers.

Heat about 1 T olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and sear/brown the roast on all sides. Place the roast atop the vegetables in the crock pot.  Deglaze the pan with ginger beer, or whatever you have on hand.  Toss in the vermouth (you can leave it out entirely, if you choose) and cover.

Turn the crock pot up to high, and cook until done (check after about two hours).  YUM!

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