Don’t you just love cookies shaped like little people, such as gingerbread men and women?
I always start munching on gingerbread people at the head. According to a survey conducted by the folks at Dunkin’ Donuts, I’m not alone. Almost two thirds of people surveyed start at the top when eating a gingerbread figure. A fifth of people begin with the legs, while the remainder go for the arms first. (To make some gingerbread cookies yourself, see below for a classic recipe.)
We seem to have a penchant for foods shaped like bodies, or at least named after various body parts.
There are chicken fingers, kidney beans, artichoke hearts, navel oranges, black-eyed peas, heads of lettuce, ladyfingers and elbow macaroni.
The Italians have given us pasta shapes like orecchiette (little ears), linguini (little tongues), and capellini (angel’s hair). In France, cotton candy is called, “Dad’s beard.”
Our bodies are precious to us and are wondrously made, so it’s no wonder we pay tribute to them by naming foods after our various body parts.
But did you know that if you’re a believer, you don’t just have your own body, you’re a part of another body, too?
Scripture tells us that those who follow Jesus are all parts of the body of Christ.
“Our bodies have many parts, but the many parts make up only one body when they are all put together. So it is with the ‘body’ of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12 TLB)
“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)
Each believer is a part of Christ’s “body” here on earth, with Christ as the head. We each have a different function and role to play in the Kingdom, and yet we work together as one to fulfill the mission God has for His church as a whole.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another.” (Romans 12:4-5)
For some, it’s easy to figure out which body part they are:
Some people like the beating heart of their church or family. Others are like the lungs that fill the rest of us with breath and inspiration.
People such as pastors are obviously the mouths, used by God to teach His Word. God has also provided us with those who are like ears, especially discerning to the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Spirit.
We’re so thankful for believers who are the helping hands—ready and able to render practical help. All of us know someone who’s a good shoulder to cry on.
There are those who are like feet, moving us forward and spreading the gospel to new territories. Many believers are the arms, always there to guide and comfort us, especially when we need a hug.
Others play a more supportive role, unsung but still crucial to the body’s functioning, like a joint. Some may be the muscles of the body, able to do the heavy lifting for the rest of us.
A few believers are a little like an appendix: you don’t hear a peep out of them for decades, then suddenly they cause massive trouble. (Maybe you know someone like that?)
But joining every believer together is Christ, who is the head of us all.
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)
Whichever part you are in the body of Christ, you’re indispensable. Don’t downplay your importance just because you’re not front and centre. You have a special role to play in the Kingdom!
Isn’t it a privilege to be a part of the body of Christ?
Gingerbread People Cookies
Decorate these little figures with piped icing, and use cinnamon red hot candies for their eyes and buttons. If you don’t have a cookie cutter shaped like a gingerbread person, you can use a heart or round shape instead.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg or cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, spices, soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and brown sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.
Gradually beat in the flour mixture until blended.
Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before baking.
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into gingerbread people shapes and place 1-inch apart on cookie sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges of cookies are just starting to brown. Let cookies sit on baking sheets several minutes to firm up before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.