• Beth Hildebrand

Receiving The Gift Of Saltiness

Hi friends! I’m so excited to have a guest writer and author here on my blog as we begin this Christmas season. My friend, Jennifer Elwood has just published her first book which is titled, Counting Up To Christmas: Twenty-Four Gifts from the Gospel of Luke. This is a beautiful Advent devotional not only in words but also in photographs, music, reflection, and space for journaling.

Here is an exerpt of Day 14. Be blessed!

Contemplate: Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? Luke 14:34 ESV

Receive the Gift: Saltiness

Have tantalizing aromas been emanating from your kitchen? The tasty morsels we create delight our tastebuds and are a wonderful tradition of this season. We enjoy baking Christmas treats to bless our neighbors. We pack up all the yummies in festive boxes and visit the people who live close by. We live up a hill in the middle of a pasture and are quite separated. It very much helps bridge the gap between us by bringing gifts to be shared around people’s tables.

I believe Jesus appreciated a good meal shared around a table. Throughout this Gospel in particular, we encounter Jesus teaching during a meal eight different times. He lived a nomadic lifestyle and was dependent on others to feed him. Jesus didn’t waste these opportunities but used them mightily.

Our gift today is saltiness, a seasoning for food and a necessary nourishment for our bodies. At the time our verse was uttered, Jesus’audience had an intense understanding that salt represented their Covenant with the Lord which initiated when their ancestors left Egypt. To further open this gift, let’s peer into scripture and examine what this covenant originally tasted like.

  1. Leviticus 2:13: You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of

  2. the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you

  3. shall offer salt. (ESV)

Salt, a preservative, symbolized permanence. In antiquity, this represented the binding, unchanging character of a covenant. (Archaeology Bible) These grain offerings, in the form of unleavened bread, previously sustained Israelites on Passover. This flat, salted bread provided the energy needed to flee Egypt and cross over the parted Red Sea. This bread – known as matzoh – was not meant to be tasteless. Imagine the leftover sensation, salt lingering in the mouths of the fleeing Israelites, reminding them of God’s presence as they escaped enslavement.

Let’s consider how this applies to us today. As believers, we continue to represent the Covenant of salt because we are the salt of the earth! (Matthew 5:13) We are a gift of seasoning, bringing intensified flavor to the world.

To fully open this gift of saltiness, we need to share it with our world that can appear improperly seasoned. As believers, I think we are characterized by experiencing the taste of a particular kind of salt – freshly smoked. The flavor of this salt is unusual and has a particularly exhilarating taste on the tongue. Its flavor lingers uniquely, perhaps because it is so different than what we are used to.

I want to represent this and I hope you do too: good seasoning to others that is uncommon and lingering. Let’s be the salt and sprinkle others this season with deliciously flavored words that point to the best spiritual meal ever – Jesus, the Bread of Life (Luke 14:34 and Mark 9:50)

Prayer

We praise you God for reflecting Yourself in creation, even in something as simple as salt. Thank you for extending Your Covenant of salt to us as believers. We pray that we would be intensely savory salt to those around us. Please help us to be constantly be pointing to our main spiritual course: Jesus. Amen.

Christmas Quietude

Read Luke 14

In the quiet today, reflect on our verse today and consider ways you have been salt to others. Is there anyone in your life that needs Jesus seasoning? Write down the names of anyone needing salty nourishment.

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Worship: Let’s continue to contemplate salt-flavored peace as we listen to this Christmas favorite by Bing Crosby, Silent Night: https://youtu.be/6GUnfLPpjLs

{Photo: This is salt from the Dead Sea. I experienced the Dead Sea on a busy Independence Day. This place to me will forever smell of freshly BBQ’d chicken. I wonder if anyone on the shore that day contemplated the true nature of salt as they seasoned their grilled meats… Photo Credit: Kirstin St. Martin}

A Recipe for Smoked Salt

Ingredients:

Salt (I prefer pink Himalayan because it is such a beautiful color)

Wood chips (The best flavor comes from Applewood)

Equipment:

A foil pan

A few sheets of tin foil

A charcoal grill

  1. Choose your salt. Pink Himalayan, Kosher, and Maldon salts are types I have tried. Maldon salt is flaky and resulted in some pretty flavorful salt. Consider that any salt you take the time to smoke will be delicious. If you plan to give some away as Christmas gifts, pink salt is quite lovely.

  2. Choose your wood chips. When I gleaned information about the best type of wood chips on the internet, there seemed to be a consensus that apple wood made the most delicious salt. The first time, we used cedar chips, and the second time we used mixed wood pellets. The cedar chips made a nice flavor. The pellets were fine, but the cedar chips were better. Next time, I will definitely try apple wood!

  3. Place each salt variety you have in small, open foil packets. Fire up your charcoal grill with the wood chips to at least 350. Place the salt packets inside and leave them 1-2 hours, stirring now and then.

  4. When you’re done, let it cool and keep it in a sealed container close to where you cook and serve food. You will enjoy the unique flavor for many meals to come!

You can find out more about Counting Up to Christmas here on Jennifer’s blog.

Gift yourself and others with this beautiful book by ordering it from here.

Short bio

Jennifer Elwood resides in Yakima, Washington. She is a lover of Jesus, wife of Tom, mom of three, and bonus mom and grandma of many. She enjoys rich coffee, European chocolate, and the color orange. Going to Israel for the first time in 2015 sparked her desire to write and she has not stopped since. Counting Up to Christmas: Twenty-Four Gifts from the Gospel of Luke is her first book. Stay up to date with her, download freebies, and receive the recipe book that accompanies Counting Up To Christmas, at www.jenniferelwood.com.

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