Thanks for the Gift…So What’s Next?

Welcome  Have you ever watched a young child at a birthday party or Christmas gift exchange?  Have you witnessed the kid that rapidly opens their present, shoves it to the side, and exclaims, “What’s Next?”  The child is so wrapped up in the idea of receiving gifts, the excitement of getting new, fun stuff, that it fails to register to stop and be grateful.  Sometimes it doesn’t even register to just stop.  They want to keep going with this gift opening activity.  Many a child has been disillusioned by the fact that the gift pile does come to an end.

As a parent, I have cringed in the moments when it appeared my own child might have a touch of this “what’s next?” syndrome.  We want to promote an attitude of gratitude in our children and we want to discourage selfish behaviors.  We can often evaluate how we’re doing by observing how our kids handle presents.

Food For Thought  As embarrassing as it is to witness my child get greedy with gifts, I recently wondered if God feels this way about me sometimes.

Just this past week, I was expressing gratitude in my prayer time, only to immediately ask for more…more blessings, more peace, more stuff.  Thanks, God, for blessing our family with a financial perk, but if you’d just bless us with more, we could do what we really want.  Thanks, God, for blessing us with safe travels, but can you give us more opportunity to travel.  Thanks, God, for answering my prayers when I was emotional and sad and lifting my spirits, but if you would just answer this “one” prayer, I’d be so much happier.  Thanks, God, for keeping my family healthy and safe, but can you heal our house, too?  Thanks for giving us some fun spring break activities, but what I really want is…

I know I’m supposed to pray without ceasing, but I don’t think this is exactly what that means.  I also know that God can answer infinite prayers.  If He chooses to do so, He could answer every single one of these prayers for me and have plenty of blessings left for everyone else, too.  But would this be good for me and my faith?  I already know the answer to that question by thinking of my own child.  Would it be good for her to get every single thing she always wants.  Of course not!  I do NOT want to raise a child who feels entitled or doesn’t have a sense of priority or gratitude.  As a child of God, though, I often behave in similarly embarrassing ways.

“Yeah, God, that blessing was nice, but what else ya got for me?”  Is this really how I want to express my love and appreciation to God for the boundless grace and mercy He has given me, not to mention all the wonderful blessings I receive every single day?  Of course not.  What if God responded the way some parents respond, “Next time you don’t get anything!”  Oh, we would be a distressed lot, wouldn’t we?

I will still take my requests to God.  He is ready to listen.  As a new challenge for myself, though, I want to spend time thanking God for what He has done for me, without sticking my hand out for more and what’s next, expecting immediate and instant gratification.

Today’s Scripture  If you read the KJV, ESV, or NLT versions of the following scripture, verse one of Psalm 92 says, “It is good to give thanks.”  I find this interesting because praising God is a beautiful thing, but a component of gratitude should be part of our praise and worship.  This is something to consider when we are spending time with God each day, being sure to express thankfulness during our quiet moments with God.

 

Today’s Recipe

When I was a kid, my mom had a Fleischmann’s Yeast recipe booklet that she got free with her yeast packets. That booklet ended up being stained and tattered from years of use. Like all Mom’s other cookbooks and magazines, I spent lots of time perusing the pictures and recipes. My favorite page in this booklet was the Easter breads page. These breads captured my young attention with their pastel sprinkles, sugary glazes, and dyed Easter eggs.

As I was thinking about the upcoming Easter holiday, I realized I have never personally made an Easter bread. I remembered that little recipe booklet I loved from my childhood. I decided to give the Easter Egg Bread a try this weekend. It was excellent! Pretty to look at, with it’s sprinkle of white sugar beads and dyed Easter eggs, but delicious to eat, too, with a perfect yeast-roll flavor and a hint of sweetness.

That Fleischmann’s book is long gone, but I thank Seeded At the Table for sharing their recipe so I would have a place to start. This recipe has been adapted from their recipe for Individual Italian Easter Bread.

Easter Egg Wreath Bread (serves 12)

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. yeast (yes, I did use Fleishmann’s yeast in this recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup soft butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • egg wash
  • candy sprinkles or coarse sugar
  • 6 dyed, uncooked eggs (eggs will have the consistency of medium or hard boiled eggs after baking in the oven)

Directions

Heat milk in microwave safe container for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Allow to cool slightly, but should still be warm to touch.

In large bowl of stand mixer, place yeast, sugar, and salt. Pour in warm milk and allow to stand five minutes.

Add butter and eggs and beat on low speed until well combined.

Switch to dough hook for mixer. Add 2 cups flour and begin to mix. Continue to add flour, one cup at a time, mixing between each addition, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Place prepared dough in bowl, turning to coat with spray. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the dough and then cover with a dry dish towel. Put bowl in warm location and allow to rise for one hour.

When dough has risen, place on floured board and punch down. Knead dough for a minute or two.

Cut dough in half. Cut each half into six sections. Form each section into a “rope.” Twist two ropes together and form into a ring. Repeat the process using the remaining dough ropes until you have six rings.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment and place each dough wreath on the sheet.

Cover sheet with dry dish towel and place in warm location to rise another hour.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Remove dish towel from bread wreaths.

Make an egg wash by beating an egg and a teaspoon of water. Brush each wreath with the egg wash and sprinkle the candy or sugar over the tops of each wreath.

Place the dyed, uncooked eggs in the center of each wreath.

Bake bread at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Eggs can be eaten with bread or discarded (They’re like a hard-boiled egg, but a little difficult to peel.)

Note-I stated this recipe serves 12. These bread wreaths are HUGE. One wreath easily serves two people, so they’re great for sharing. Also, you can place the wreaths next to each other when baking to get one large Easter egg loaf, like in the picture below, which more resembles the Easter bread my mom made when I was a kid. It can then be cut into 12 servings.

For More Inspiration

For Easter recipes and decorating ideas, check out my Easter Board on Pinterest.

For delicious bread recipes, check out my Breads Board on Pinterest.

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