Last Christmas season we were able to join our friends for a Christmas celebration. I remember how much we were both looking forward to visiting with friends we’ve known for years, and how excited our children were for us to have fun.
We all dressed up, ate amazing food , drank great wine, talked about our kids, laughed and played. I brought sfogliatelle, an Italian pastry I learned to make after our last trip to Italy. He bought it for me on our way to Siena. This delicassie became my favorite and I wanted to share this delicate treat with our friends. He thoroughly enjoyed watching me do all the prep work at home, and proudly shared about them as I finished up at the party. Dessert was eaten first as everyone enjoyed them and my heart was full. Angelo raised a toast to the host and hostess, expressing his sincere gratitude for their hospitality and intentionality of keeping friends connected.
We played our own version of the newlywed game, all of us far from being newly married, nevertheless remembering each other as such. The men played pool while their wives wrote down answers to the questions they would be asked. Both Angelo and I enjoy playing, but neither one of us are competitive. While I don’t remember all the questions, I remember the laughter and the fun. The second to the last question was “Name a date you thought was great, but she didn’t”. We rode the emotions as each couple relived terrible dates. It made me thankful for each one of them, for their commitment to each other, their willingness to laugh and their continuing forgiveness in each of their marriages.
When our turn came, Angelo couldn’t think of an answer. After a couple minutes, he gave up. I turned my answer card around. It was blank.
There wasn’t a terrible date to remember. I smiled a teary smile across the room. He smiled back at me. I was lost in the gift revealed the rest of the evening. None of us are perfect, but we were perfect for each other.
I wished I could have shared then my deep gratitude for this gift God gave me, this husband who loved me so selflessly. How broken and vulnerable I felt, and how strong I was trying to be when we met. I wish I could have shared how I had never been treated so kindly, or been believed in so encouragingly before. But that was all a gift for me to treasure up that Christmas.
The memory of dear of friends opening their hearts and home, cheering each other on in fun and celebrating marriage and life together is a Christmas gift I will hold dear all my days.
Dough: Filling: 3 cups flour 2 cups ricotta cheese 1 teaspoon salt. Orange or lemon zest ¾ cup water 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 tbsp honey Or Nutella ½ cup lard ½ cup butter
Dissolve honey in water, mix with flour and salt, knead 5 minutes, roll through pasta machine 1 dozen times on largest setting, chill air tight 3 hours Melt lard and butter Divide dough into 8 pieces, run each piece through to the thinnest setting, lightly flouring between each run Brush final piece with lard/butter then roll tightly the chill 2+ hours Cut ¾” rounds, lay flat on counter press with palm from center outward to flatten Fill, fold in half Brush with butter/lard every 10 minutes baking total of 20-30 minutes depending on size at 400 degrees Sift powdered sugar to garnish
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12,13
All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but The cheerful heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, But heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13