Now here is a curious symbol and ritual of Christmas – cookies shaped like people and spiced with warming spices and ginger. Gingerbread probably originated in Medieval England and means “preserved ginger”. Queen Elizabeth I liked gingerbread and had her chef’s make it in the shape of people resembling visiting dignitaries and party guests. Ginger is also known for its ability to calm a stomach which might be a reason that we like to eat it at one of the busiest times of the year! It is also said that gingerbread was only allowed at special times of the year like Christmas and Easter and perhaps the tradition stuck. While the direct reasons for the connection of Gingerbread People and Christmas are not fully clear it is a tradition that can help us think about the meaning of Christmas.
The calming effect of ginger is a reminder that Jesus’ presence can bring us great calm. Jesus came to preserve our lives and at special times like Christmas we can take pause to be grateful. The shape of gingerbread people and the many ways we decorate them can remind us of all the people Jesus came to save.
With Children: Hang tag #17 with a gingerbread person or cookie cutter. Make some gingerbread people and talk about the calming spices and the uniqueness of all the people Jesus came to save. Share your cookies with someone and tell them what you learned.
With Teens: Talk about the biggest things that are upsetting. Pray and give those worries to Jesus this season. Enjoy eating some gingerbread people together.