On New Year’s Eve we hosted a Sunday School party here at the house. I served up hot wassail, using a recipe I got years ago from the custodian at a school where I taught. The stuff is yummy. It’s sort of like apple cider, but mulled with lots of different flavors.
Perfect for a cold winter’s night.
The word “wassail” comes from an Old English term meaning “be well.” A drink used in a toast to wish good health to friends and loved ones, it was traditionally consumed on New Year’s Eve as well as Twelfth Night, the night before Epiphany (which coincidentally is today!)
If you’re not familiar with the traditional church calendar, Epiphany is the time when Christians remember and celebrate the visit of the Wise Men.
Yes, that means technically Christmas doesn’t end until then.
But as for us, well, that tree and all the other stuff had to come down last weekend.
Back to the idea of wassail, though. . . this idea of wishing each other well. Maybe it’s a tradition that ought to be resurrected.
An Aspiration for the New Year. . .
It’s probably the most common New Year’s Resolution, is it not? Deciding to lose weight, to get fit, to eat better? After the over-consumption of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a priority for most of us.
There’s more to being healthy, though, than just taking care of the physical body — although that’s a significant part. But it’s also essential to consider our emotional and spiritual well-being.
It’s a huge topic for me. I’ve struggled with emotional health all my life—specifically with anxiety, depression, and anger—and I want my children to fare better. I want them to be able to talk about their emotions, about how to channel them properly, about what big emotions do to our bodies and how to recognize those symptoms.
And even more, I want my kids to be spiritually healthy. I want them to believe in God and Jesus, I want them to know beyond all doubt that they are loved by the Creator of the universe. I want them to recognize that someone bigger and stronger and wiser is in control and wants to guide and help them along life’s journey.
I want them to be whole. I want them to be well.
And I desire it for you as well.
It’s why I write here. . . to encourage you to live the abundant life you are promised. A life that includes physical, emotional and spiritual health. A holy trinity of well-being.
This might just be the year, don’t you think?
The year when life makes a turn for the better? Let’s set some goals and instill some new habits to make it happen, shall we?
I’m praying it for you, dear readers, as well as for my family and myself.
So in this new year, on this day of Epiphany, I offer this toast to you:
Be well, my friends. Be well.
. . .and a Yummy Drink
And since I know you want it, here’s my wassail recipe. I make it in a big coffee urn, but it will also work on the stove or in a crock pot. It’s important to use the whole spices, not ground. If using a pot, I make a little bag out of a coffee filter and some kitchen twine, put all the whole spices (except the cinnamon) inside and plop it into the pot along with the cinnamon sticks. Then I let it mull over low heat.
For a really nice grownup treat, add some brandy before serving. It will make you feel warm all over. Mmmmm. . . .
- 2 32-oz. bottles cranberry juice cocktail
- 1 46-oz. can unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 1⁄3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 T. whole allspice
- 2 T. whole cloves
- 12 2-inch sticks cinnamon
Pour cranberry juice, pineapple juice, water and brown sugar into a 20 cup percolator, stir until sugar is dissolved. lace remaining ingredients in percolator basket. Perk through complete cycle. Serve hot with fresh orange slices if desired.