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The holidays bring thoughts of bologna and God

Christmas Cravings

By Clay Gardner – 

My baloney has a first name, it’s O-s-c-a-r,
My baloney has a second name, it’s M-e-y-e-r,
I love to eat it every day And if you ask me why I’ll say,
“Oscar Meyer has a way with
B-O-L-O-G-N-A.”

How is it that something that sounds like “baloney” is spelled, b-o-l-o-g-n-a? Turns out that baloney (that’s the informal way of spelling it) is named after Bologna, Italy; pronounced ba-lon-ya. That still doesn’t explain how we got to baloney.

I don’t eat a lot of bologna, at least not anymore. But this time of year, from time to time I’ll find myself craving a bologna sandwich; a bologna sandwich and some potato chips. You see, when I was growing up, we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and we always made a really big deal of it. My mom would make all kinds of desserts–her glazed applesauce cake is something I also get cravings for–and she would put out, buffet style: breads, meats, and cheese.

Now she didn’t do it like I might today–the sandwich meat was nearly always bologna; some years she would throw in salami. So I would make myself a bologna sandwich, have some Ruffles potato chips, and anxiously await the time Grandpa or Dad would call us all over to the tree.

Today my family opens our presents on Christmas morning–a decision that was not reached democratically. Since bologna isn’t typically regarded as a breakfast food, we have a different tradition. Still, every year, just about now, I begin to crave bologna.

You know what else I crave? I crave to have my heart touched. I crave a deep, deep soul stirring. I long to have my senses bombarded with the wonder of the birth of God; with the marvel of God’s own nativity; with the realization of his love.

Year after year it’s the same. I must, I absolutely must have my soul stirred. One year my soul was stirred by a young mother who came to us for help. The look in her eyes when she was handed a toy for her daughter brought tears to my eyes–she was under the impression she would only receive food. Another year it was our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. One Christmas, it happened to also be a Sunday, my heart was stirred by a young couple who knelt and accepted Christ as Savior in response to the question, “What do you give God, who has everything?”

Psalm 42:2 says, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

As I sit here at my computer I can’t help but wonder two things: First, how is God going to stir my soul this year? I know I want him to, I long for him to. I guess he knows. I know I must keep my eyes open, and my heart soft. If I do he’ll give it a good stir. May I suggest you do the same thing? Keep your eyes open and your heart soft. If you do, you may well find that God will give your heart a good stir.

Second, I wonder if we have any bologna.

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