Opening the Gift of Jesus the Cornerstone

My friend Jennifer Elwood encourages us to make Jesus-themed gingerbread houses so we will remember to open the gift of Jesus the Cornerstone.

Opening the Gift of Jesus the Cornerstone

November 12, 2020

Friends, today I invited my friend and fellow writer, Jennifer Elwood, to share some thoughts with us from her newly published Bible Study, Counting Up To Christmas: 24 Gifts from the Gospel of Luke.

Jennifer and I became friends through COMPEL Training. Over the past year we polished each other’s writing through critiques and encouragement. I love her warm generosity, her infectious energy, and whole-hearted devotion to the Lord.

Her study helps us take time during the busy Christmas season to remember the precious gifts we receive through Jesus. I just received my personal copy, and it is stunning

Please enjoy these words from Jennifer, a kindred soul who loves Jesus and Christmas:

“Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ‘Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?’” – Luke 20:17, NIV

Counting Up To Christmas: Opening the Gift of Jesus the Cornerstone


What unusual traditions prepare your family for Christmas? Several years ago, we adopted a December weekend “staycation” reserved to hang out in PJs while doing our favorite Christmas-y things together. Even this year when we’ve spent more time at home in our pajamas than ever, we will still participate, because
new pajamas are worth getting excited about! 

Over the years, this tradition ebbed and flowed with changing activities except for one thing:

The Gingerbread House


Typically, I purchase multiple, semi-edible homes wrapped-in-plastic. We make an entire village of candy-filled, brightly colored homes that prominently display in our dining room. They bring a festive, decorative touch to our favorite gathering spot. This year, however, we’ll be experiencing a new tradition . . . a Jesus Cornerstone gingerbread house made from scratch.

Over the summer, as I worked on finishing up the content of my book, we made one for the first time—and I’ll never look back. As the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and ginger delighted our senses on a hot August afternoon, I knew I was ruined from purchasing store-bought ones forever.

Perhaps, you’re wondering why in the world we made gingerbread during the summer? Well, I’ll tell you. As I wrote my first book, Counting Up To Christmas: 24 Gifts from the Gospel of Luke, I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to create images to help open each day’s gift from Scripture. In Luke 20, Jesus spoke the words pronouncing His fulfillment as the Cornerstone. Discerning which image to use to portray this gift was a puzzle until my cousin Angie inspired the idea. I found a recipe passed over from a friend a few years before, so, with the help of my two girlies, our cookie home— with a carefully placed lego-formed Jesus—became a reality.

In my book, I state that I am a fan of pre-assembled cookie homes. (Until now, that is!) The reason being, who wants to wait for the icing to solidify? If you aren’t patient enough, you end up with a MESS! We experienced, more than once, a hurricane of broken cookies, sloppy frosting, and candies piled on a plate. I’ve learned the key to a stable house is a well-prepared foundation.

Speaking of stability, this year challenged me to deeply consider Jesus’ role in the solid foundation I stand on. You too? Living through an international pandemic, a contentious election year, and all the other crazy things 2020 brought our way messed with my internal peace.

However, Jesus is our cornerstone—He said so Himself! (Luke 20:17) As we step into an extra challenging holiday season, this attribute of Jesus demands our attention. A cornerstone is an object of high importance, which something else depends upon. Jesus is a rock not cut by human hands, upon whom we can build our faith. (Daniel 2:34) He is our unfailing, firm foundation. (Matthew 7:24-26)

So, today I’m encouraging you to represent this truth tangibly by wrapping it into a Christmas tradition. Let’s fill the world with Jesus-themed gingerbread houses! Place them in your home, and post them online, to show the world where we are placing our hope and peace for Christmas this year: on the firm foundation and cornerstone of Jesus!   

Lord, we praise You for the gift of Your Son, our Cornerstone. Please help us to stand firm on Christ and have confidence in the rock You gave us to stand on! Help us to be living stones with infinite trust in the solid base, Your Son. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Without further ado, I’m including the recipe used by White House bakers to create their astounding display each year. And, here are some links to find my Advent devotional book and an online community ready to study along with you. I hope you will join me!

To purchase the book on Amazon click here.

Freebies for the book, including the complete Counting Up To Christmas Recipe Book subscriber benefit, at: www.jenniferelwood.com

Counting Up To Christmas FB group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/countinguptochristmas

Counting Up To Christmas on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/peacocksojourning/

 An online shop with “true peace” gift items: https://wood-knox.myshopify.com/search?q=Luke

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (I didn’t have any on hand so crossed my fingers and used butter. It worked but I think the solid shortening would make for a more solid sheet of gingerbread)
4 eggs
3 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
6 cups flour

To decorate: Royal Icing, a variety of candies, and a Jesus cornerstone (we used a lego, a fine brown sharpie, and a dry baby wipe for his robe.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Put your shortening of choice and sugar in a mixer and combine. One at a time, add the eggs and mix until fluffy.
  3. Add the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and beat until well incorporated.
  4. One cup at a time, add the flour. The dough will become very stiff and this is where your judgement comes into play. If the dough begins to crumble, stop adding flour. Roll out to a 1/8 inch thickness and cut out the shapes. There are lots of great templates online. And, don’t forget to cut out a corner for Jesus!
  5. Bake your house for 10-12 minutes. Allow it to completely cool before constructing.
  6. Assemble your house with an appropriate adhesive. Royal icing is the traditional glue that holds it all together. Whisk 4 egg whites, then gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar. Put it in a piping bag with a 1/3 inch tip and let the icing set completely before decorating further or you will have a house built on shifting sand! (I used hot glue. Don’t feel bad if you have to, just eat around it.
  7. Decorate with all the candies! If you plan to eat the house and want edible glue, because eating raw egg whites is not good, I found that a stiff buttercream worked just fine. There are edible royal icing recipes out there as well, you can google one.
  8. Place it in a location where guests will see it and post pictures on social media with #jesuscornerstonegingerbread. It’s the perfect Christmas conversation starter! 

Here is a little more about Jennifer:

Jennifer Elwood resides in Yakima, Washington. She is a lover of Jesus, wife of Tom, mom of three, and bonus mom and grandma of many. She enjoys rich coffee, European chocolate, and the color orange. Going to Israel for the first time in 2015 sparked her desire to write and she has not stopped since. Counting Up to Christmas: Twenty-Four Gifts from the Gospel of Luke is her first book. Stay up to date with her, download freebies, and receive the recipe book that accompanies Counting Up To Christmas, at www.jenniferelwood.com.

Opening the Gift of Jesus the Cornerstone

November 12, 2020

My friend Jennifer Elwood encourages us to make Jesus-themed gingerbread houses so we will remember to open the gift of Jesus the Cornerstone.

Friends, today I invited my friend and fellow writer, Jennifer Elwood, to share some thoughts with us from her newly published Bible Study, Counting Up To Christmas: 24 Gifts from the Gospel of Luke.

Jennifer and I became friends through COMPEL Training. Over the past year we polished each other’s writing through critiques and encouragement. I love her warm generosity, her infectious energy, and whole-hearted devotion to the Lord.

Her study helps us take time during the busy Christmas season to remember the precious gifts we receive through Jesus. I just received my personal copy, and it is stunning

Please enjoy these words from Jennifer, a kindred soul who loves Jesus and Christmas:

“Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ‘Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?’” – Luke 20:17, NIV

Counting Up To Christmas: Opening the Gift of Jesus the Cornerstone


What unusual traditions prepare your family for Christmas? Several years ago, we adopted a December weekend “staycation” reserved to hang out in PJs while doing our favorite Christmas-y things together. Even this year when we’ve spent more time at home in our pajamas than ever, we will still participate, because
new pajamas are worth getting excited about! 

Over the years, this tradition ebbed and flowed with changing activities except for one thing:

The Gingerbread House


Typically, I purchase multiple, semi-edible homes wrapped-in-plastic. We make an entire village of candy-filled, brightly colored homes that prominently display in our dining room. They bring a festive, decorative touch to our favorite gathering spot. This year, however, we’ll be experiencing a new tradition . . . a Jesus Cornerstone gingerbread house made from scratch.

Over the summer, as I worked on finishing up the content of my book, we made one for the first time—and I’ll never look back. As the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and ginger delighted our senses on a hot August afternoon, I knew I was ruined from purchasing store-bought ones forever.

Perhaps, you’re wondering why in the world we made gingerbread during the summer? Well, I’ll tell you. As I wrote my first book, Counting Up To Christmas: 24 Gifts from the Gospel of Luke, I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to create images to help open each day’s gift from Scripture. In Luke 20, Jesus spoke the words pronouncing His fulfillment as the Cornerstone. Discerning which image to use to portray this gift was a puzzle until my cousin Angie inspired the idea. I found a recipe passed over from a friend a few years before, so, with the help of my two girlies, our cookie home— with a carefully placed lego-formed Jesus—became a reality.

In my book, I state that I am a fan of pre-assembled cookie homes. (Until now, that is!) The reason being, who wants to wait for the icing to solidify? If you aren’t patient enough, you end up with a MESS! We experienced, more than once, a hurricane of broken cookies, sloppy frosting, and candies piled on a plate. I’ve learned the key to a stable house is a well-prepared foundation.

Speaking of stability, this year challenged me to deeply consider Jesus’ role in the solid foundation I stand on. You too? Living through an international pandemic, a contentious election year, and all the other crazy things 2020 brought our way messed with my internal peace.

However, Jesus is our cornerstone—He said so Himself! (Luke 20:17) As we step into an extra challenging holiday season, this attribute of Jesus demands our attention. A cornerstone is an object of high importance, which something else depends upon. Jesus is a rock not cut by human hands, upon whom we can build our faith. (Daniel 2:34) He is our unfailing, firm foundation. (Matthew 7:24-26)

So, today I’m encouraging you to represent this truth tangibly by wrapping it into a Christmas tradition. Let’s fill the world with Jesus-themed gingerbread houses! Place them in your home, and post them online, to show the world where we are placing our hope and peace for Christmas this year: on the firm foundation and cornerstone of Jesus!   

Lord, we praise You for the gift of Your Son, our Cornerstone. Please help us to stand firm on Christ and have confidence in the rock You gave us to stand on! Help us to be living stones with infinite trust in the solid base, Your Son. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Without further ado, I’m including the recipe used by White House bakers to create their astounding display each year. And, here are some links to find my Advent devotional book and an online community ready to study along with you. I hope you will join me!

To purchase the book on Amazon click here.

Freebies for the book, including the complete Counting Up To Christmas Recipe Book subscriber benefit, at: www.jenniferelwood.com

Counting Up To Christmas FB group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/countinguptochristmas

Counting Up To Christmas on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/peacocksojourning/

 An online shop with “true peace” gift items: https://wood-knox.myshopify.com/search?q=Luke

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (I didn’t have any on hand so crossed my fingers and used butter. It worked but I think the solid shortening would make for a more solid sheet of gingerbread)
4 eggs
3 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
6 cups flour

To decorate: Royal Icing, a variety of candies, and a Jesus cornerstone (we used a lego, a fine brown sharpie, and a dry baby wipe for his robe.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Put your shortening of choice and sugar in a mixer and combine. One at a time, add the eggs and mix until fluffy.
  3. Add the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and beat until well incorporated.
  4. One cup at a time, add the flour. The dough will become very stiff and this is where your judgement comes into play. If the dough begins to crumble, stop adding flour. Roll out to a 1/8 inch thickness and cut out the shapes. There are lots of great templates online. And, don’t forget to cut out a corner for Jesus!
  5. Bake your house for 10-12 minutes. Allow it to completely cool before constructing.
  6. Assemble your house with an appropriate adhesive. Royal icing is the traditional glue that holds it all together. Whisk 4 egg whites, then gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar. Put it in a piping bag with a 1/3 inch tip and let the icing set completely before decorating further or you will have a house built on shifting sand! (I used hot glue. Don’t feel bad if you have to, just eat around it.
  7. Decorate with all the candies! If you plan to eat the house and want edible glue, because eating raw egg whites is not good, I found that a stiff buttercream worked just fine. There are edible royal icing recipes out there as well, you can google one.
  8. Place it in a location where guests will see it and post pictures on social media with #jesuscornerstonegingerbread. It’s the perfect Christmas conversation starter! 

Here is a little more about Jennifer:

Jennifer Elwood resides in Yakima, Washington. She is a lover of Jesus, wife of Tom, mom of three, and bonus mom and grandma of many. She enjoys rich coffee, European chocolate, and the color orange. Going to Israel for the first time in 2015 sparked her desire to write and she has not stopped since. Counting Up to Christmas: Twenty-Four Gifts from the Gospel of Luke is her first book. Stay up to date with her, download freebies, and receive the recipe book that accompanies Counting Up To Christmas, at www.jenniferelwood.com.

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2 Comments

  1. Marcia on November 13, 2020 at 7:04 AM

    Thanks so much Shirley… this is amazing… I’ve never done a gingerbread house.. might just have to try🎉💖

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on November 15, 2020 at 2:22 PM

      Thank you Marcia. We’ve done one for years-it is a lot of fun. I love the spiritual spin from this week’s post. 💕

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