The Gingerbread House
Shortly after my husband and I married, we experienced a slice of yesteryear for the first time. It was during our wonderful stay at a quaint Bed and Breakfast—a true gem with Victorian flair. I immediately sensed comfort amidst its charm and mystery. My first glimpse ignited my imagination and I couldn’t wait to roam throughout its rooms.
As I walked up to the front porch, the most beautiful gingerbread moldings and oak door welcomed us in. My awestruck eyes marveled at the treasure trove of period antiques and collectibles when I passed over the threshold. I was immediately transported back to a simpler place in time—a time when families seemed to respect not only each other, but also God’s plan for their lives.
I was thrilled to experience the wonder of every room. I’m sure each one would have many tales to tell if its walls could talk. My favorite was the dining room, where fresh-baked desserts were arranged on pewter serving pieces for afternoon tea. I was anxious to sit at the table with fine linens and delicate china, and thought the wood from the old antiques smelled as wonderful as the treats on the sideboard.
I surveyed the room and allowed myself to get lost in my own dreamy vision of the Victorian era. A cozy fire burned in the fireplace nearby. Mom wasn’t far from her well-mannered children as they gathered around the table. I heard their delight as they devoured her famous cherry pie. My re-creation was a pleasant journey to simpler times.
I equate that era with more love, peace, happiness and gratitude. Life was not perfect, but I believe more importance was placed on the simple blessings God bestowed. Marriage was more valued, and the children of the home respected parental authority and guidance. Spiritual strength may have been the bond that kept more families together.
When I created my own imaginary transport back in time, I designed a family who welcomed God into the privacy of their home. He was also there in the public places where the ladies and gents gathered in fancy attire. Sadly, He isn’t always asked to share in our private or public lives today, nor is He invited into enough hearts.
As I returned to the present, I thought of the new homes we passed on our way to the Inn. They were mini-mansions meant to dazzle all who passed by, but lacked the charm or strength in structure like those of years ago. Houses today are different—maybe it’s true for many families as well.
The warmth, comfort and security found at the family table near the warm fire and freshly baked pie are now often absent. Everything seems to break down with time and unfortunately, family has not been protected from that inevitable destruction. I believe spiritual strength is the missing link.
If the walls of my favorite old charmer were able to pass on valuable words of wisdom, what would they be? Perhaps, they’d mention it’s not important where you live, but how you live. Maybe they'd plead for us to show more love and generosity instead of selfishness and greed. Each husband and wife would be reminded to honor their marriage vows and asked to look above for strength during tough times. Inevitably, they’d tell children to respect their parents for the special roles they have. They’d remind us to count our blessings and reprimand us for our addiction to the material ones. Most importantly, the walls of the old charmer would urge us to invite God to reside in our homes as well as in our hearts.
I believe lessons can be learned from many first experiences, so long as our vision is fine tuned when we search for them through spiritual eyes. My first look beyond the beautiful gingerbread moldings provided insight and revealed a few keys that can unlock a treasure chest of spiritual advice for families today.
My love of antiques remains from my heartwarming experience at the Inn. Gingerbread moldings grace every open doorway of my own home and several rooms are adorned with an antique or two. Whenever I see them, I am transported back to that beloved Victorian gem.
What will the walls of your home say countless years from now about your family, despite the struggles and difficulties encountered through the years? Hopefully, they will speak in remembrance of love, peace, happiness and gratitude as they thank you for the Lord that resided there.
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