Cookies and Mangers

Perfection… the bar was set pretty low, I thought. I was making Christmas cookies. I don’t bother with fancy-decorated ones, but when I roll them out and cut the little shapes, I do like them to be intact and to look like they should.

The cookies weren’t cooperating. Some tore, but mostly they just clung to the countertop when I tried to lift them to the baking sheet, compressing their crisp shapes into long, thin caricatures.

All I wanted was to bake something nice for my family, and suddenly I was dealing with a “take every thought captive and don’t feel sorry for yourself” moment.

The moment passed, the cookies went in the oven, and look what came out. Don’t say God doesn’t have a sense of humour. Would it have mattered if they’d gone on the tray perfectly?

Christmas cookies

Can you tell what they’re supposed to be? Guess I didn’t get the recipe quite right — they swelled up and lost their sharp edges. If you squint a bit, you can find trees, stars and teapots.

But it got me thinking about how we want everything perfect. And about how messy, dusty, smelly and just plain unsuitable the Bethlehem stable was as the birthplace of the Saviour of the world.

Some suggest the stable was a blessing to Mary and Joseph, a haven from the noise, overcrowding and general mayhem of the guestrooms. Maybe so. It definitely made the shepherds’ visit easier.  But it was hardly “perfect”.

Look at what was perfect, though: the timing, the fulfillment of the Bethlehem prophecy, the willing mother and surrogate father, God Himself in human form. The symbolism: the Divine in a humble, earthly mess.

So maybe the lesson from my cookies is to discern which elements need my best efforts at excellence and which are “optional extras”. And to trust God’s perfect working even when I don’t meet my own expectations.

6 thoughts on “Cookies and Mangers

  1. storygal

    The Saviour coming into our messy lives, where things often don’t work out how we planned. I hear you.

    I’m sure the cookies still tasted yummy. Cut-out cookies take a lot of time.

    1. Janet Sketchley

      Things don’t often work out like we plan, but the important things work out as God plans and that’s always better — if we can only remember that!

      (And yes, the cookies tasted fine, and that matters more than how they look.)

  2. Mary Waind

    The cookies are so fun, Janet! I’ve never thought of doing teapots. ;} Perfect! … as is the illustration of everything related to the birth of the Lord Jesus. Blessings.

    1. Janet Sketchley

      I have trouble sticking to the appropriate theme for my cookies, Mary. Cutting shapes is so much fun, once I’ve accepted the mess that comes with it. We have dinosaur cutters, the teapot, a football, a turtle, a footprint, a Cross, and I’m still looking for a music note and a sheep. So glad our Lord created whimsy 🙂

    1. Janet Sketchley

      Thanks, Ginny. We had an older lady in our church who would often lament, “we’re so human.” Somehow it reminded me we’re all in this together and that God is more than human and is enough.


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