by Rev. James L. Snyder
It is typical this time of year to prepare a list of resolutions for the coming year. I believe this goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve, “I think I’ll turn over a new leaf this year.” And so the tradition has come down to us today.
Normally, people will make a list of all the things they will give up during the ensuing year. All kinds of bad habits find their way on the list like smoking, drinking and other nefarious activities. Of course, nobody actually plans to keep his New Year resolutions but the act of writing them down on a piece of paper seems to give a sense of accomplishment to people.
One of the big things on the resolution list has to do with diet and losing weight during the coming year. I have often wondered why this seems to be number one on most of those New Year resolution list. Even Yours Truly has succumbed in years past to attend this resolution on his list.
This year I discovered why that is so high on people’s list. It begins with Halloween and all of the candy that is consumed. Now, there is a purpose behind all of this. And it is only recently that I have put it all together. And to my loyal reading fans (both of you) I would share with you the wisdom of my muse.
The reason it starts with Halloween candy is that candy is sweet. This sweet serves to prime the pump, so to speak, for the eating frenzy that is about to begin. Approximately 3 weeks following the Halloween candy blowout comes Thanksgiving.
When our forefathers did a Thanksgiving dinner, they had to chase the turkey down and kill it themselves. Following that, they had to pluck the feathers, clean the turkey, stuff it and get it ready for roasting. All of this activity burned up all the calories from the Halloween candy frenzy.
Now, all we do is pop it into an oven and the most activity we have is bending our elbows to see how fast we can get the turkey from the plate into our mouth. Even though this activity is quite strenuous it actually burns no calories whatsoever in the process.
If it was just the turkey it would not be so bad, but nobody can eat turkey without all the culinary accoutrements. Roast turkey without a generous slice of pumpkin pie is the closest thing to blasphemy that I know.
No sooner has the Thanksgiving dinner settled in our stomach, it is Christmas time, and all of the parties associated with Christmas. Nobody can refuse a Christmas party with all the delicacies that had been so meticulously prepared. When I go to a party, I think it rather rude not to indulge in the party snacks.
I like to join organizations right around the October keeping a sharp eye out for the annual Christmas party. Soon after the New Year, I dropped out of that organization. Call me a slacker, if you wish, but in my book, the Christmas party is worth the subterfuge.
Then there is the marvelous family Christmas dinner. Need I say more?
So we come to New Year’s Eve. By this time, everybody has eaten so much that hardly anybody can take another bite. Not only that, but many people feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday season. Others, like me, are made to feel guilty for eating so much during the holiday season.
To deal with this sense of guilt many people make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet during the coming year.
Many years ago around this time of the year, I made a drastic tactical error. It had been a particularly good holiday season with many parties and Christmas dinners. I was feeling rather expansive at the time and sighed deeply and said, “After all that eating I should go on a diet.”
Quick as a wink the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage took that as a cue and responded, “I think that’s an excellent idea. That will be your New Year’s resolution for the coming year.”
And so it was.
I quickly learned that such resolutions come with a great deal of superfluous supervision. Every time I turned around my wife said, “How is your diet coming?” Of course, she knows exactly how it is coming because she is the one who was supervising this aspect of my life.
When going out to eat at a restaurant she was most helpful in supervising my ordering by observing, “You can’t order that because it’s not in your diet.”
There are many things that will not show up on my New Year’s resolution list and the number one item that will not be there is dieting. Gone from my vocabulary are such phrases as, “Boy, I’ve eaten too much tonight.” Or, “After eating like this I should go on a diet.”
I am not sure God is quite as concerned about my eating habits as other people are. I like what David writes in the 23rd Psalm. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” (Psalms 23:5 KJV).
When God sets the table, he expects me to feast, and I do not anticipate disappointing Him.