The House that Ellie Built

Dec. 11, 2013

Ellie and her gingerbread house.
Ellie and her gingerbread house.
Decorating while baby brother Dylan looks on.
Decorating while baby brother Dylan looks on, 2013

Luke 2:7

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for him. 

On Tuesdays, I have the great joy of spending the day with our youngest two grandchildren. Three-year-old Ellie loves to cook. Most weeks, we make cupcakes, brownies or cookies.

This week, I had a different plan. Seeing a gingerbread house kit at the store, I thought this would be a great project. Ellie had already eaten breakfast when I arrived at 6:40 AM on Tuesday. She was ready to do a project. When I showed her the gingerbread kit, she was so excited. We began building the house immediately.

I had never made a gingerbread house. The kit made it quite easy. I cut out the house base and covered it with aluminum foil.  The directions showed us how to ice together the four walls. We were to wait 15-20 minutes to let the icing set. Twenty minutes for a three-year-old is like half a day! Probably before the walls were completely set, we added the roof. At this point, Ellie couldn’t wait any longer to start decorating with the candies. If we didn’t start soon, the candies would disappear fast.

I piped on the frosting and Ellie creatively put candies on edge across the roof bridge. Isn’t it interesting how quickly the icing for decorating dries in contrast to when we wanted the walls to dry? We decorated the roof, the windows, around the door all while two-year-old Dylan sat in his chair, watching and eating Apple Jacks.  As the candy ran out and with the icing long gone, Ellie proclaimed, “Dianne, this house is so cool.” She was completely right.

As we decorated our little gingerbread house, I thought of the “house” where baby Jesus was born. Probably more of a cave than a barn, it would have been terribly small. I doubt there were any fancy decorations or brightly colored carpets. It might have been quite cold, drafty and stinky. As Mary delivered her baby with no trained help, I doubt she looked around and thought, “This is so cool.” Yet this is exactly where the Messiah was born; in the most unlikely of places.

Overall, I would call our first gingerbread house experience a success. When we came back to the house after lunch, the walls were leaning in a bit. The weight of the candy with not completely dried construction probably caused the leaning. But the house was still cute. It was still neat. It was still the house that Ellie built.

Jesus came as a baby into this world, carrying the weight of the world on his tiny shoulders. He endured lots of criticism, challenges and stress. He didn’t bow away from this, but knew this was the house he was to build. Thank the Lord he did.

Almighty God, the details of Christ’s birth seem so strange to us. They just don’t really make sense. Why a cave? May we see this as just another symbol of how important being of this world was. Thanks for building a kingdom that never ends.   Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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