Linda Crow: Perfection is Not the Goal in Family Foundations
Recently, I created a gingerbread church from scratch, with stained-glass candy windows and a roof of candy shingles.
Since this was my first attempt, I gathered tips from experienced bakers and researched blueprints in order to prevent catastrophes. Even so, when I assembled the sections, I found odd structural problems.
None of the research advised that when your cookie sheet goes "boing" in the oven, your walls might warp, turning your creation into a wonky funhouse instead of a sweet fairy tale cottage.
I added candy to detract but only felt dissatisfied. I considered placing a gift-laden sleigh on the bowed roof to imply the cause of sinking, but I knew that camouflaging the flaws compromised the integrity of basic gingerbread principles. (I'm serious about this stuff!)
So, I heated a knife in a candle flame and painstakingly cut through the thick royal icing, removing one section at a time to begin again.
After reassembling it with truly flat pieces, I added ribbon candy, peppermints, gumdrops and dripping icicles, which I then enjoyed with a clear conscience -- no artful deceptions on my church!
My experience made me think about how real homes and churches get off-kilter, literally and figuratively, when they're built on shifting ground or with compromises in integrity.
Sometimes, couples try to candy-coat flawed relationships by buying more stuff, as if to say, "How could our marriage be bad? We have worked together to buy a great house, take tropical vacations, fill a four-car garage and enjoy lavish Christmases."
But if there are foundational flaws, the sugar frosting belies the funhouse incongruity in their hearts.
My parents, celebrating 66 years of marriage on Dec. 14, built my childhood home on a foundation of faith in Christ, and my brothers and I enjoyed the sweetness of a loving home as a result.
There weren't a lot of Dr. Phils or premarital counselors in 1942, and I'm sure there were bumps and cracks along the way, but they have always painstakingly sacrificed whatever it took to stay true to their vows and to God, their foundation.
No family is perfect, and I've learned through gingerbread baking that perfection is not the goal. I now embrace small glitches that prove my gingerbread wasn't stamped out in a factory but rolled out by my hands.
However, I'm grateful to know that when my marriage or my individual life shows signs of cracking or warping, I can bring the pieces to God, who straightens crooked hearts and rights wrong thinking.
And that is the good news of this season -- through the events of the first Christmas, God provided a way to re-build, restore and renew our relationship with Him and with each other. Those are indeed good tidings of great comfort and great joy.
Merry Christmas, and happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.
Check out Linda Crow's blog, www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com, to see pictures of her gingerbread house.
See yesterday's post for pics of this house.