It’s Christmas. And I’m on a diet.
Due to a genetic tendency toward insulin resistance, I’m not supposed to eat certain foods… white flour, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, regular pasta, corn, and yes, sugar in any form. That includes brown sugar, molasses, honey, and agave nectar.
Most of the year, I’m pretty good at this. After all, my health is at stake. Eating these things leads to wild fluctuations in my blood sugar levels, headaches, mental fog, and ultimately diabetes. I really don’t want to go there!
However, as the fall approaches, it gets much more difficult to avoid temptation. Starting in mid-September, our family celebrates birthday after birthday, culminating on December 23 with our son-in-law Jeremy. All those birthdays include some sort of special dessert.
Christmas brings on an even bigger flood of high-sugar foods—cookies, pies, cakes, nut breads, candy—and plenty of parties at which to indulge.
Even seemingly innocuous occasions, such as the potluck brunch at our Sunday school class this past Sunday, are a huge source of temptation. There were bagels, coffee breads, pastries, sugary granola, sugared strawberries and blueberries… the only thing I could eat was the artichoke-Feta quiche I made. Then we went to the service where we were confronted with greeters bearing bowls of candy. It’s unavoidable!
I knew I had been struggling this fall, but yesterday was the day of reckoning. I got my blood test results back from my doctor’s office. Everything looked good until I got to the triglycerides. My levels were 100 points over the safe limit. It was tangible proof that I had been cheating.
As I resolved to do better, I considered how much this is like other areas of our lives. We go along thinking we’re doing pretty good. Maybe a small sin here, or a moral lapse there, but all in all, we’re good people. We don’t realize how all those little sins add up until we come to the end and have to face a perfect, holy God. Oops.
Some years, I have a hard time getting into the “Christmas spirit.” All the expectations and distractions our culture has piled onto this holiday keep me from focusing on God. This year is different. Maybe that’s because being aware of my sin makes me truly appreciate the arrival of a Savior.
Here, Jesus, You can have my cookie.