The details are not necessary to make the point, but something happened that morning that caused all of us to recognize how life reshapes assumptions and priorities. The monkey bread was raising in the pan, and spilling beyond it. The casserole wasn't in the oven, the table wasn't set. Yet suddenly none of that mattered. Arriving like a sudden storm, the circumstances of life transformed our sense of what was truly important. And it wasn't a casserole, tasty though it may be.
The brunch was eventually served on Christmas day, but it became supper. The monkey bread raised to the point of overtaking the kitchen. We almost called out the National Guard. The bread burned, the casserole wasn't quite done, and not everyone was able to be at the table. It was the ruination of our Christmas tradition.
Or was it? I think not. That day we were reminded that the meaning of the season isn't in menus, rituals or traditions. It took the interruption of ritual, the postponement of tradition, for us to understand why they were so meaningful to us in the first place. The love and support of family, being there for each other in good times and bad, is the ingredient that makes this brunch significant, and perhaps even sacramental.
The burned, puffed-up monkey bread couldn't have been tastier. It was infused with love.
Some things have to change. Hallelujah!