I had good intentions. The recipe looked easy enough, yet festive: chocolate orange cake. I figured this year the grandsons were old enough to enjoy a birthday for Jesus. And who doesn’t like chocolate? Even though I had been tempted by the beautiful little chocolate cake at Trader Joe’s, I decided to take the plunge myself. I pulled out the springform pan (which I had worked with before) and went at it.
I wasn’t prepared for the result! Even though my toothpick came out clean, something happened to part of the middle as it cooled on the rack! If the whole middle had sunk a little, it wouldn’t have been that bad. But there it was, a desperately misshapen birthday cake for Jesus. My efforts at patching it up just ended in making it worse: glaze sliding off one side, crumbs in the glaze . . . nothing I tried helped. Discouraged, pressured, and ready to pitch the thing and go spend $7.99 for that cute little TJ cake . . .
I remembered Jesus!
I realized that He probably never had a perfect birthday cake (if they even did that in those days). Even His actual birthday was far from perfect . . . no hospital, no doctor, no nursery with a clean crib and changing table, no doting relatives, no baby showers, no home sweet home, not even a room in a hotel; but rather a barn filled with animals, far from loved ones, with two teenaged parents, and unclean outcasts with their sheep for visitors! (Of course, God couldn’t resist throwing in a few angels and a star! But they were only visible to the few believing hearts.)
Something began to change in my attitude toward my cake. Now it was a picture, a metaphor, for my lovely Lord who wasn’t one of the beautiful people (kinda like my cake):
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
Isaiah 53:2, ESV
My cake began to speak to me of this glorious One who came to earth and put up with a broken, imperfect life for my sake:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt [pitched his tent] among [meta] us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 NASB, emphasis added
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God . . .emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant . . . and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:5–8 NASB
So I swallowed my pride and put a little crystal nativity on top. When it was time for dessert, I read the verses from Isaiah, and we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. The funny thing is that it was actually delicious . . . kinda like Jesus, huh?
Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8 HCSB
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on abranchinthevine.com.
Featured Image by Calum Lewis