I got an email the other day with this subject line: How not to get fat this Christmas. At first, I wondered who among my loved ones was sending me a not-so-subtle message. But no, it was just junk mail from some list I was on. However, since it had arrived, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a look.
If you want to know the secret to not getting fat at Christmas, I’ll share it with you now. The email was from an exercise and weight-loss company. Basically, it boils down to planning your meals and work-out times, enjoying a little extra and not being overly stressed. The emphasis, however, was on planning ahead and making wise choices before the holidays hit. That’s good advice for dealing with the whole Christmas season.
It’s unfortunate that Christmas has become about excess. We eat too much, we buy too much, and we find ourselves stressed and exhausted once the holiday is over. That seems to be an odd way to celebrate the birth of our Savior. So here are my thoughts on the topic “How not to overdo Christmas excess this year”:
- Plan to buy less but give more. Gift-giving is difficult when we live in a society where everyone has pretty much everything they need. Every year, millions of pounds of clothing, electronics and packaging end up in landfill sites. Meanwhile, our homes are overflowing with things we never use. It’s part of the fun to give good gifts, but we don’t need to go overboard. So how about cutting back on some of the gifts, but giving more to charities that will help the poor and needy? Give something that will really make a difference to someone.
- Plan on more quality time with the people you love. We are looking forward to having all of our children home over the holidays. Our kids, like most teens and young adults, are big technology consumers. But they are already talking among themselves about turning off the Wi-Fi for certain periods of time. They want to play board games and talk with each other. As parents, we are on board with that proposal. We’ve learned that if you don’t plan for that to happen, it often doesn’t.
- Plan on more quiet time and less noise. I know that not everyone likes silence, but there is much to be gained when we cut out noise from the world around us. There are so many agendas trying to get our attention, but these things are largely unimportant. So go to some parties and enjoy the festive season, but build in some extra time to just sit and wait in God’s presence. Read the Christmas story over a few times. Prayerfully thank God for the gift of His son. It might lead to different kind of Christmas experience.
Plan now for how you hope to spend the time around Christmas. Don’t let the clatter and clutter of a commercial Christmas take away what God has for you. Focus on Jesus who came into the world for you. It is simple and stress-free. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)