Christmastime is a perfect occasion for discussing molds. No, not the fuzzy green ones that grow on very old bread — but rather the kind used to shape stuff, such as jello.
We have several molds designed to shape different foods, and we have a lot of fun using them. We have a heart-shaped baking pan, and we’ve used it to bake a meatloaf that screams “LOVE”! We have molds for shaping mounds of rice and chicken salad, making a beautiful presentation when serving these dishes. We have ice cube trays that enable us to freeze punch in a variety of cute shapes. And we have a fish mold, too! So if our doctor ever tells us to cut out red meat and go on a seafood diet, we’ll just bake a meatloaf shaped like a fish.
In addition to all these cool molds, there’s also the universally familiar ring-shaped bundt baking pan. The bundt design mimics the form of a traditional European cake called Gugelhupf, which was popular with Jewish communities in Germany, Austria and Poland. The first bundt pans were marketed in the U.S. in the late 1950s. The pans quickly caught on, and today you can buy bundt pans in a variety of designs, including cathedrals and city skylines — because who doesn’t want to play Godzilla and devour a whole city made of cake?
Interestingly, a Gugelhupf is baked from a specific, yeast-based recipe with fruit and nuts. You can’t say the same thing about a bundt cake. In fact, there are no recipes for bundt cake. So what exactly is a bundt cake? Simple: anything you bake in a bundt pan. It doesn’t matter if it’s lemon cake or angel-food; if it contains fruit, nuts, or a tunnel of fudge filling; whatever goes into a bundt pan is called a bundt cake. Which provides a perfect analogy for what we want to share.
Although Bundt cakes retain the flavors baked into them, they nevertheless lose part of their identity. Being molded by a bundt pan makes them bundt cakes. A chocolate cake becomes a bundt cake. Same for yellow cake, banana cake, or what have you. If cakes could talk they’d probably argue with the cook about being baked in a mold that leads to the loss of their individuality! (Can you guess where we’re going with this?)
People often end up like bundt cakes. They may start out as chocolate, vanilla, yellow or red velvet, but somewhere in life they allow the world to mold them into something generic.
This world is continually pressuring people to conform to a certain image and mindset. Peer pressure is constantly working to mold us; the need to “fit in” or the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” are just two examples of “social bundt pans.” And if you’re a follower of Christ, you face even more pressure to conform to secular society. Face it, “bundt people” want you to join their ranks.
The Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) In other words, don’t allow this fallen, negative, lost and hopeless world to squeeze you into its mold. Instead, be different, maintain a higher standard, avoid the dog-eat-dog mentality of the rest of society. Be like Christ: never stoop to the low standards of people who are unforgiving and vindictive, unloving and often vicious. Take the high road instead; rise above your circumstances and whatever else the world throws at you; and live by faith!
Get God’s perspective on life by reading His Word. Trade in any hopeless, faithless feelings you may have, for God’s faithful promises. Replace any negative, hateful, selfish, stinking thinking with the “mind of Christ” and “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)
As we continue to enjoy Christmastime, we’ll probably encounter — amid other holiday goodies such as pecan fudge, gingerbread cookies and plum pudding — our fair share of bundt cakes. When you see one, let it be a silent reminder not to let the world squeeze you into its mold: don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, over decorating, and trying to impress people over the holidays. Christmas isn’t about competing with the neighbors or impressing the boss. Nor should it become an excuse to overindulge in food or sink deeper in dept at the department stores.
Break out of the mold! Christmas is a time for celebrating the gift of Jesus Christ to the world — with dear friends and family who take comfort in the simplest pleasures of life, the joy of the Lord and the fellowship of good company. And, uh, a cup of eggnogg or hot cider, of course!
Don’t be a bundt! Be better! Think different, and live victoriously! “With perfect peace You will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust You.” (Isaiah 26:3 GOD’S WORD)