The Christmas season is officially here. The left-over turkey sandwiches are already making way for cookie exchanges and peppermint sticks. For those of us who work often in the kitchen, the holidays can be a tricky season for both our waist lines and our hearts.
Mommas get muffin tops over their jeans and sometimes it shows up in the Christmas photos. The gym feels like an illusive goal when you’re just trying to keep the house running through a bout with the flu. You run into people you haven’t seen in a year and your face is fluffier than it use to be. Lies can stir up in our hearts at this time of year. Lies that diminish the true reality that is ours as daughters of the King. We tell our kids the truth about how God fashioned them, but sometimes it’s difficult to believe it for our own aging bodies.
Every morning on the way to school, I stare at an advertisement of a perfectly formed woman in a shimmering gold leotard. The billboards are filled with beautiful women in dazzling jewels with flawless skin and stunningly trim figures. I suppose this is holiday fanfare in the world of models. Increasingly, the ads and displays around us are reminiscent of mythical gods. The images that advertisers are producing right now are full of the deification of the female body. It is a world where creation is being worshipped rather than the Creator.
But the Christian woman is not making herself into a semi-goddess. We worship One God, our Maker. We are not to be chipping away at all the things we dislike about our bodies in order to obtain more praise from our insta-feed. Our celebration of the Christ-child is not about a perfect family picture. We are not just keeping bodies, we are cultivating hearts.
The body that God gave you is good and He made it for His own glory. You were made. You were fashioned. Your curves probably look different than you neighbor’s, and most certainly they look different than that edited image on the magazine cover. The season of young motherhood in particular means that you give your body to another. It means that your stomach, most likely, will never be flat again.
This Christmas, while the models are in the gym with their personal trainer, you’re covered in flour with your toddler while sugar cookie icing drips to the floor. And that’s right where you should be, giving your life away to the people in your care. Let that tiny face bury her nose in your soft belly, and know that you were made to use your body to the glory of God, not preserve it. Those stretch marks can either make you sigh, or catch your breath in thanksgiving to God. Your standard is not a culture driven by self-glorification. The Hero of our story, the God that we worship this Christmas, gave Himself to the uttermost.
These middle years with chubby babies and children in snowman pajamas are a time when we are forming how we will age. Will it be with resistance and grumbling and self-criticism, or with grace and dignity? We don’t have to preserve ourselves in a perfect form. Our bodies are fading. This is not the era of our immortality. We’re not the gods. Rather, we are moving toward wrinkles with the knowledge that our souls are eternal, and our bodies will indeed be raised one day in glory.
Don’t shrink from the table of celebration this Christmas. The hope that we have is bound up in our eternal, glorious Savior. Don’t despise the celebratory meals because you feel like the body you want is perpetually out of reach. Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to sprinkle your thoughts with lies about who you are. Consider whose standard you’re looking towards to define beauty.
Is it an industry marketing itself to you to make you feel like you’re not enough? Someone who wants to sell you something so you can be a bit closer to beautiful? A culture that worships the created because they refuse to bow to the Creator?
Or is your standard the truth that God that speaks over you every day of your life? From chubby infancy to old age and wrinkles — you were made. You did not make yourself. You were crafted by a loving Father who sees you in every season. You were wonderfully made. And as 1 Corinthians 15 tells us, those who are in Christ will be raised in glory, we shall forever bear His image.
We feast now as a foretaste to the grand banquet in glory. There will be no talk, at that table, of calories and fat grams, of the waistline of yesteryear or those post-baby hips. Let your table be a place where you joyfully celebrate His coming and anticipate the feast that is to come.
Your heart is of more concern this Christmas than your waistline. Let your heart be a place that receives His love — with joy.