4 Holiday Philosophies for Health

When you lay your personal goals along side the holidays, what comes to mind? A lot of the chatter we hear is people bemoaning inevitable weight gain and plotting their New Year’s resolutions to undo all the over-doing.

Or, are you thinking about your personal goals for learning to enjoy the small things, indulge in relationships and overflow with gratitude for delicious food and generous friends and family?

I’ve collected a few links from around the worldwide web, interesting perspectives on the holidays. Enjoy!

“What are you going to do to burn off those Thanksgiving calories?” ‘health-related’ Facebook pages ask.

How about enjoy time with your family and don’t beat yourself up? Don’t see exercise as punishment for or salvation from eating delicious food. Go on with your normal workout routine because it makes you feel good. And eat healthy food next week because it nourishes your body and mind.” Rachel Mac 

Not surprisingly, Kirstie Alley’s holiday perspective is completely centered around how to maintain an enviable figure. Is this really all we want to think about?

1. Move, move, move 2. Relish each mouthful and 3 more…

Obviously, food makes an easy gift. But I still wonder, as one recovering from an eating disorder and a ridiculous obsession with food, is there a way to move away from that? Do you give a lot of food gifts at Christmas? It’s a delicate balance for me, learn to celebrate food and also learn not to focus on it.

Are you tired of giving the same old holiday gifts – candy, cookies, stupid stocking stuffers? Me too! I would like my gifts to be meaningful, not too expensive, but promote health and vitality.

Well, here are a few of my favorite things… (I couldn’t resist!) ~Fresh Food Perspectives

A selfless perspective on the holidays:

Screenshot 2013-11-27 11.59.25

Turning the Other Cheek this Christmas

Hi Everyone, I’m joining my SheLoves Sisters here, and doing this: Advent Acts of Kindness. (Both links are very informative and helpful to explain the whole process which is actually very simple.)

I hope you’ll join me! For once let’s not just talk about decommercializing Christmas, and perhaps not even fight the hype. Instead, this project feels a little like turning the other cheek, to me. We’re not ranting about Santa, stores and stinginess. We’re not resolving, rejecting or reframing.

We are simply sharing the overflowing Love and Joy of Christ this Christmas, multiplying our giving, highlighting His generosity and loving others as He loves us. 

Merry Christmas!

Screenshot 2013-11-27 11.59.25

P.S. I know you hardcore “No Christmas ’till after Thanksgiving” folks are wagging your finger at me. Believe, I’ve been you (still am to a degree). But this project requires just a tiny bit of planning, so I figured I’d give you a head start. Also, perhaps we wouldn’t get so bent out of shape about Christmas overshadowing Thanksgiving if we behaved as we believe: Jesus didn’t just come once to a stable, but that He lives here and NOW in our hearts. 

Again, Merry Christmas!

Christmas Colors: Black and Red

One of the most contentious issues around Christmas is money. It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about digging themselves out of holiday debt come January. Retailers revel over the black in their checkbooks, while consumers cry over their bleeding bottom line.

For many Christians, the concept of debt is a touchy one. There are the pious few who shun credit cards, and a majority who long for the day when they can pay off all their plastic.

Recently, I heard a financial adviser speak on debt-proofing Christmas. She had tons of wonderful ideas for keeping Christmas traditions while eliminating or minimizing the cost. Wonderful ideas, good ideas, useful ideas.

However, following that interview, I got into a discussion on marital finances with my sisters. That prompted me to re-examine my perspective on money, debt, borrowers and lenders. What exactly does the Bible say?

Once when I was young, my dad loaned me money to purchase a bike. The plan was for me to earn my allowance and other funds to slowly pay off my debt. Truthfully, I don’t recall how many nights passed, but I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake thinking about how sinful, terrible and scary it was to owe someone something. One night, I climbed out bed, ran to my dad and begged him to let me take the money out of my savings account so that I could be free of this terrible debt.

Therein, I think, lies one of the Biblical cautions against debt. It invokes fear. There’s a feeling of inferiority to the person who holds the debt. That emotion, in and of itself is not Biblical. As children of God, we are not beneath or subservient to anyone. Neither should our lifestyle reflect that we are.

The problem with debt is that from either side, it is completely contrary to our personhood in Christ. We are called to be like our Father. Our God is beneath no one, in need of nothing and under no fear or condemnation. Neither are we. To live in a lifestyle of borrowing and owing is not to look like our Father.

In the relationship between a borrower and lender, Proverbs tell us the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7) Consider these two roles. Both encourage an attitude that is un-Christ-like. The lien holder has the tendency to feel superior and to lord his influence and power over the borrower. The borrower is beholden, and legally bound to his benefactor.

Throughout the Old Testament, God laid out parameters  for borrowing and lending. If to do either was sinful, God would not have explained how to do so honorably. God tells the Israelites to lend freely but never to be in debt to another nation. I believe God does this for the sake of His own name.

“The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” (Duet. 28:12)

“And I prayed to the LORD, ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin,lest the land from which you brought us say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.” (Duet 9:26-28)

For the glory of His own name, God protected and provided for His people. He does the same today. Essentially, borrowing displays a lack of trust in God’s faithful provision.

A final criteria for Christians to consider regarding debt, is motive. More often that not, debt is acquired by greed. There is an insatiable longing for something that God has not previously provided, so in self-sufficiency we run to our own means for satisfaction.

Finally, in the New Testament, Paul instructs his listeners to own no man anything but a debt of love. Think of how you feel when you owe someone money. It is usually a pressure, a frustration, a burden. However, when love has been given, to return it ten fold is a joy, a pleasure!

God longs for His people to reflect His nature. God longs for His people to trust his sufficiency. And God longs for His people to experience the joy of effusively giving love.

Can we apply this to our checkbooks?

 

 

Memorial Day.

AMemorial DayPrayer
By Rev. Dick Kozelka (ret)
First Congregational Church of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN.

Eternal God,
Creator of years, of centuries,
Lord of whatever is beyond time,
Maker of all species and master of all history —
How shall we speak to you
from our smallness and inconsequence?
Except that you have called us to worship you
in spirit and in truth;
You have dignified us with loves and loyalties;
You have lifted us up with your lovingkindnesses.
Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling
[though we sometimes feel that low]
and without fear
[though we are often anxious].

We sing with spirit and pray with courage
because you have dignified us;
You have redeemed us from the aimlessness
of things’ going meaninglessly well.
God, lift the hearts of those
for whom this holiday is not just diversion,
but painful memory and continued deprivation.
Bless those whose dear ones have died
needlessly, wastefully [as it seems]
in accident or misadventure.
We remember with compassion those who have died
serving their countries
in the futility of combat.
There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation,
when all the answers we are offered
fail the question death asks of each of us.
We believe that you will provide for us
as others have been provided with the fulfillment of
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

This poem was taken from U.S. Memorial Day.org, quite a valuable resource that I didn’t know existed. I confess, that even as an Army spouse, I can’t wrap my mind, let alone words, around the significance of Memorial Day. All my life it has simply signaled the beginning of summer, cookouts, water skiing – the good life.

I want to understand it with more clarity. I apologize for cavalier years and flippant “Happy Memorial Days.” Thanks be to God, that Memorial Days can be happy for those who know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, who call on the Lord with a sincere heart, who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord.

Please visit this blog again on Wednesday for a suggestion as to how you can personally help share the gospel with men and women in the military.

Salvation on Lay Away

I almost feel like I’m cheating, this week I’m borrowing from other writers – journalists, comedians, friends. I’m sorry but I love these tidbits of thought, laughter, news, etc and there’s no sense in re-creating something that was effective the first time around.

I overheard this on the news just before Christmas. You may have too, but the radio didn’t do the story justice. The longer version (the book is always better than the movie, you know) illuminates the heart of the matter.

Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.

Pretty amazing, hmm?

One more thought: Jesus is not an anonymous donor. Jesus It’s a lie that sneaks into our subconscious and leads us to treat God with the same indifference that we (sadly) often impose on other people. Jesus won’t respond to your text message, and He doesn’t need you to leave a voicemail hoping He’ll have time to listen later. Jesus is not an absent God who set the world spinning and sat back to see if it crashes like an un-manned top.

Jesus came. Jesus lived among us, sharing our blood, sweat and tears. His intimacy with us continues. Give Him your heart, let Him love you. If you want to trust Jesus and know the deepest love of your life, feel free to contact me or follow this link. 

 

Christmas Memory

I thought your absence would mellow,

That time would dull the ache I feel,

When I smell snicker-doodle coffee

When I slip on a soft flannel shirt.

I worried that I would slowly forget

The callous of your fingers

The sharpness of your whistle.

I thought your absence would mellow.

But just yesterday I cried.

I miss you.

I remember so many Christmases

When I was a little girl.

I remember caroling and gazing at the lights.

I remember services at your church.

Plates of cheese and crackers,

After candlelight services.

Stacked in bunk-beds for meager hours

Till we could tumble down the stairs.

You waited at the foot,

Steamy, black coffee in hand.

Sun-sparked through frosty windows.

A buzz of home and warmth.

The air was full of you.

Of bridled enthusiasm for childish glee.

As we tumbled down the stairs

To assault the Christmas tree.

I promise to remember.

Your voice echoes in my heart.

Christmas will never be quite the same

As long as we’re apart.

Granddad, I miss you.

Grandma, we remember.

But, remember,

It won’t be this way forever.

Shopping Pains

I can’t make up my mind.

If I don’t hurry, they’ll leave me behind!

Red stockings? Green?

Cinnamon or Vanilla bean?

 

I can’t make up my mind,

If I don’t soon, they’ll leave me behind.

Should I buy Dad great coffee,

Mom – flavored tea?

 

I can’t make up my mind,

If I don’t soon, they’ll leave me behind.

Does Mom want new gloves,

Can a tie show my love?

 

I can’t make up my mind,

If I don’t soon, they’ll leave me behind.

Does my sister wear tall,

Does Pete still play ball?

 

I can’t make up my mind!

If I don’t soon, they’ll leave me behind.

The mall is closing, Dad’s jingling the keys.

Oh if everyone was just easy to please!

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…

Not having ever believed in Santa Clause, I never really considered how creepy it might seem to a kid that some short, fat, elderly elf is watching them ’round the clock. In fact, I snickered behind those kids’ backs, wondering how they could buy into such an obvious lie. Seriously, flying reindeer? little elf minions? How did they explain the fact that even the meanest, rotten kids usually got gifts from someone?

I’m probably stoking a fire here that I am not prepared to put out, but please join the discussion understanding that I don’t have kids myself and I’m not telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. But, as a Christian – what do you tell your children about Santa Clause? I’ve heard some argue that to endorse Santa is to tell your children a bold-faced lie. I’ve heard others declare that you’re robbing your children of fun and fantasy to reveal the truth about the jolly old elf. Can you combine Jesus and Santa?

The undeniable truth is that Jesus does watch you – 24/7, while you’re sleeping and awake, sitting and standing, running or hiding.

Ps. 139 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven you are there! If I make my bed in the depths you are there! If I take the wings of the dawn and dwell in the midst of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”

But there’s a very good reason that God watches you! Your life depends on it!

He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The LORD himself watches over you!
The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever. ~ Ps. 121:3-8