Our fourth grandchild has safely arrived. Is there a more perfect gift to invite the spirit of Christmas and remind us of the eternal importance of a physical body than a precious new baby?

Born on December 6 and weighing in at 8 pounds and 11 oz, our little Ruby Jane Allen is a perfect jewel. When I first met her, she was sound asleep. Her little hands, with the hospital name bands still in place, were clasped together and she appeared to be praying. That’s a good way to start earth life, don’t you agree? Her perfect little body, soft, fuzzy head and sweet-smelling newness made me think of the poem “Little Lamb” by William Blake.

Though not considered a Christmas poem, its few short lines celebrate the Christ Child, the great mysteries of the Master Creator, The Savior’s role as our shepherd, our kinship to Him and the gift of life.

hands

Little Lamb by William Blake

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice;
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee

 
Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb I’ll tell thee;
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek and he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child and thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

Do you suppose, as the shepherds in the field saw and heard the angels, then followed the star to where the Christ Child lay, they had any idea that the little baby they saw would be called “The Lamb of God”? And did you know that there is much speculation that these shepherds did not watch ordinary sheep, but lambs that were bred to be used as sacrificial offerings in the temple and closely guarded? How symbolic that these very select shepherds should be the ones to first worship the Baby Jesus. (See note below)

As Jesus grew and fulfilled His divine mission to teach, preach and redeem mankind, he referred often to both the sheep and the shepherd, the lost and the found.

Especially significant by way of guidance for those of us who struggle with our weight and overeating is the counsel given to Peter and several of the other disciples when He appeared after His death. They’d fished all night, yet caught nothing. At sunrise, Jesus called to those discouraged men from the shore, miraculously prepared a meal of fish, then ate with them:

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me more than these?  He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me?  He saith unto  him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.  He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? 

Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?  And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.  Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep (John 21:15-17).

It is interesting to me to see that this counsel was given after they had eaten. They were full, ready to listen and ready to do his bidding. Three times he asked if Peter loved him, and three times Peter affirmed that he did. Some say that those three times represent the three times Peter denied Christ just before the crucifixion. Others, like me, believe that it was for emphasis and that many of us are slow to internalize.

And here’s where our Christmas “Weight Loss Made Easy” strategy comes in. How often during the holidays (do those of us who are slow to internalize that we’ve eaten enough) do we continue to eat after we’ve been fed, after we’re full, after we’ve adequately and purposefully celebrated? How often do we gamely continue to eat after we know we should stop feeding ourselves?

Instead, I offer today how easy it is to simply do something for someone else! To simply feed His sheep instead of ourselves. O, it needn’t be big – we just need to remove ourselves from the food!

Jesus“The Good Shepherd” by Untersberger 

Let me continue! Though now grown, we are still children of God, his little lambs. It’s easy and appropriate to think of Baby Ruby Jane’s tiny fingers and clasp our own hands together (instead of around a fork, spoon or another cookie) or and say “Heavenly Father, I’ve been fed! Whom can I now feed?”

If necessary, say it in your mind three times for emphasis.

Immediately you’ll be blessed with the names of someone who needs a prayer. Perhaps there’s a messy bathroom sink that will take just a moment to tidy and bless the family the rest of the day. Perhaps a co-worker would appreciate our offering to do his work at the photocopier, and we can burn off a calorie or two by walking to the copy machine and back. The important thing is that it needn’t be overwhelming, take much time, or be something that can be delayed.

Another thing to not delay is to decide right now what slacks you’d like to be wearing on New Year’s Eve. One of my dear friends actually bought a beautiful pair of fitted slacks (with a waistband!) to wear to holiday parties. They went with all sorts of tops and she called them her Christmas pants. The waistband was a reminder to stop when she was full and the goal, of course, was for them to be as comfortable on New Years as they were early in December.

With that thought, here’s this week’s Weight Loss Made Easy Christmas Carol, this time to the tune of “Oh, Christmas Tree” –

Oh Christmas Pants, my Christmas Pants
You are my healthy chance
Oh Christmas Pants, my Christmas Pants
You are my healthy chance
With waistband snug, you let me know
To step when full, so I’ll not grow
Oh Christmas Pants, my Christmas Pants
You are my healthy chance.


Oh Christmas Pants, my Christmas Pants
You make me stop and review
Oh Christmas Pants, my Christmas Pants
Just what I will and won’t do
My ugly stretchy pants are gone
It’s fitted slacks from this point on
Oh Christmas Pants, my Christmas Pants
You make me stop and review.

(Download the mp3 Album of all the Weight Loss Christmas Carols and meditations from www.HealthyChristmas.com )

Yes, there’s an abundance of holiday food and too much to do, but there’s also an abundance of opportunities to quickly, immediately and lovingly feed his sheep, once we ourselves have been fed. What a wonderful way to celebrate the season!

Today’s Empowerment : “After having eaten, I take time to recognize that I am full. Instead of eating more, I drink a large glass of water, then clasp my hands and ask in prayer Who can I now feed?”

Today’s Journal Prompt and Discussion Starters:

  1. Make a list of those in your circle who need your prayers at this time.
  2. Consider and visualize the Savior as your Shepherd who is guiding you to appropriate portions and choices.
  3. What foods, people and situations are most difficult to manage? Prayerfully make a plan for managing them.

Today’s Recipe

EggNog Shakes (Two Servings at 163 Calories)

1-1/2 cup fat-free, sugar-free vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon fat-free whipped topping
Sugar substitute equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon rum extract
1/8 teaspoon brandy extract or vanilla extract
Dash ground nutmeg

Directions:
In a blender, combine the first six ingredients; cover and process until smooth.
Pour into chilled glasses; sprinkle with nutmeg.

Yield: Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (3/4 cup):
Calories: 163
Total Fat: 2g
Carbohydrates: 21g
Cholesterol: 9mg
Sodium: 109mg
Exchanges: 1 Starch, 1/2 Milk, 1/2 Fat

Note: A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion that the flocks, which pastured close to Behlehem, were destined for Temple sacrifices, and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism, on account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible. The same Mishnaic passage also leads us to infer, that these flocks lay out all the year round , since they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before the Passover – that is, in the month of February , when in Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest. Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple flocks all the year round . Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak. (Edersheim, p.186-187).