“Jesus is born!”
As children, these were the phrases that echoed back in forth in our home every Christmas morning before we stormed down the stairs to see what Santa had left us. My brothers and I would eagerly wait on pins and needles, legs dangling over the stairwell, eyes straining to sneak a peak. We anticipated our green light signal, “Merry Christmas!”, lips poised at ready to respond, “Jesus is born!”
It’s funny, now as an adult, and this Christmas being my first as a mother(!), I’m inclined to consider what traditions I’d like to carry on with my own family at Christmastime. Picking out and decorating the tree together. Christmas eve church service, tamales and opening one present. Serving in soup kitchens. Advent devotionals as a family. These are all beautiful and meaningful bonding traditions that I hope to continue.
However, to me, the most poignant of all is this simple Christmas morning “call and response.” Even as an eager little girl, I recall how this brief pause before the giddy chaos of tearing open gifts would still my heart and ready my soul for the true meaning of Christmas. I would remember that the meaning behind the celebration is not about all the gifts, but rather about the one Gift. It’s about the Gift that God sent us in the form of a little, humbly-born baby boy who would live a perfect life and die a brutal death, all in the name of love. All so we wouldn’t have to suffer the consequences our own sinful hearts deserve. What a Gift.
So this Christmas, I hope you enjoy every little tradition that is near to your heart, but mostly savor sweet time with loved ones and relish in the most beautiful Gift of all.
Of course, you’ll need something yummy to fuel your tank as you celebrate. These orange cinnamon rolls are pure, indulgent bliss, perfect for Christmas morning after the little ones thunder down the stairs or you roll out of bed!
¡Buen provecho and Merry Christmas!
- 1 package (2½ tsp) yeast
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup milk, heated
- 3 eggs, whisked
- juice and zest of one orange
- 4½ cups flour
- Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
- 5 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- juice and zest of 1 orange
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- Dough: Start making the dough by adding a package of yeast to a mixer bowl with brown sugar. Heat milk to almost boiling and pour into yeast mixture. Let it sit until it gets bubbly, about 5 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add in whisked eggs, juice and zest of orange, then flour a half cup at a time until dough forms a large ball, is slightly sticky but won't stick to your fingers when handling. Remove dough from mixer bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes then place in another large bowl and cover with a dish towel. Allow it to rise in a room temperature/warm spot for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
- Orange Cream Cheese Glaze: While the dough is rising, make the glaze by combining melted butter, softened cream cheese, orange zest and juice, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer on medium speed. Add in powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- Filling: In a small bowl combine melted butter, cinnamon and sugar.
- Assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a large casserole dish or 2 round pie pans. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a large ⅓ inch thick rectangle. Brush filling all over the top. Then, use a knife to cut the rectangle lengthwise into ½ inch wide strips. Roll each strip into a spiral and set in the greased dish, pinching the edges to stick. Repeat until all rolls are formed. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until top is slightly golden. Brush with orange cream cheese glaze and serve hot.