In the past, my former self dished out advice on how to eat less over the holidays, and how to resist the tempting homemade baked goods from well-meaning neighbors and friends.
But this year is different because I began to wonder: What if we talked more about the advent of Jesus instead of shame-based eating choices?
When the angel appeared to the shepherds on that momentous day in history, he announced,
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
The Gospel, this Good News, remains the same even today. A Savior, a Messiah, has come not only to permanently cover our sin with His righteousness, but to begin the process of restoring His creation to its original glory.
In the beginning, the first man and the first woman did not know shame. Human beings were perfectly content in their skin because the words, “You are very good” were spoken over them by their Creator, and it was truth. And only truth existed. But because of the lies of the great enemy himself, this truth has been distorted and twisted and we have become consumed with trying to make ourselves and our bodies good enough.
The Christmas season is a celebration of the birth of Jesus into the world: God in human flesh. Think about it. God values our bodies so much that he chose to come to earth in human form. God declared the first man and woman “very good,” and later came in a human body to declare this truth over us. In fact, Jesus was born for the express purpose of bearing our shame in His body on the cross because of His great love for us.
Friends, Jesus has taken our shame upon himself so that His words, “You are very good” can be reborn in us.
The words of culture, social media, parents, friends, doctors, or even the words from within that tell you that your body is not good enough are drowned out when we hear and believe the Good News proclaimed: Jesus has come because He calls you VERY GOOD!
The implications of this truth are eternally wide and deep.
Jesus came for you regardless of what you’ve done or haven’t done, what you eat or don’t eat, or what the scale says on January 1st. Jesus came declaring that you are VERY GOOD.
In light of this truth, we can live and eat free from fear, guilt, and shame. This can be a daunting challenge in our diet-saturated society. So, here are four practical steps you can take this holiday season to live in the truth that you ARE good enough.
1. Ditch the diet talk. When the inevitable diet talk starts up at the dinner table, either excuse yourself from the table or redirect the conversation to the good news of God’s uncontional love.
2. Believe His truth. Say “NO” to the body-shaming food police in your head and “YES” to God’s words to you that you are VERY GOOD.
3. Listen to your body. Honor and respect your hunger and fullness cues and cravings. Allow your body’s cues to guide the “when” and “how much” of eating. Enjoy your very favorite slice of Aunt Martha’s apple pie and delight in it. Also, remind yourself that if you are too full to have a slice now, these foods are available for your enjoyment each and every year, and even more often, if Aunt Martha is willing to share her recipe.
4. Don’t move it to lose it. Participate in movement that brings you and your family joy. Physical activity and eating don’t have to be tit-for-tat. In fact, that way of thinking can ruin the joy of both eating and physical movement. So instead of exercising because you need to “burn off that holiday treat,” move your body because it is energizing, can help you cope with holiday stress, and is a great way to spend time with family.
Patericia is a lover of Jesus, wife, and mom to a busy toddler and newborn! She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who most recently worked part time doing outpatient nutrition counseling, but is currently in the process of transitioning to stay-at-home mom. Patricia is a lover of family, quiet early mornings, delicious meals shared around a table, coffee sipped slowly, sunshine, reading, and toddler snuggles.