A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

He (or She) Who Indulges…

Posted on: December 16, 2013

Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.

~ s. 2288 of the Catechism

light fruitcake

Fruitcake made using my great-grandmother’s recipe

I love the food at Christmastime. Not just the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but the eggnog and baked goodies: light fruitcake, shortbread cookies, brunekager (Danish spice cookies), and so on. I enjoy baking these goodies—I like to think my grandmother and great-grandmother would be pleased we’re carrying on the tradition—but I also enjoy eating them. A little too much.

I even find myself getting sentimental looking at boxed chocolates, remembering how much my grandmother enjoyed candy (especially an After Eight after Christmas dinner), or how much I enjoyed the foil-wrapped chocolate balls in my stocking.

Sometimes the month of December seems like one extended snack time, with treat-laden tables at parties, treats on people’s desks at work, and the goodies we make at home.

It’s a challenging time of year to eat well and get enough exercise (especially with the biting cold weather we’ve had in Ottawa this past week or so). The more so for those like me who struggle with their weight, or like acquaintances of mine who are making the move to a vegetarian or vegan diet and feeling tempted.

I found some advice on moderation recently in Sirach 37:27-30*:

My son, test your soul while you live;

see what is bad for it and do not give it that.

For not everything is good for every one,

and not every person enjoys everything.

Do not have an insatiable appetite for any luxury,

and do not give yourself up to food;

for overeating brings sickness,

and gluttony leads to nausea.

If we look at holiday food and drinks as once-a-year treats, it’s easy to enjoy too many of them and end up feeling more stuffed than the turkey. But there are other once-a-year treats we can enjoy: sending and receiving Christmas cards, carolling, visiting with relatives we don’t often see, lighting our Advent candles, attending Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

May we enjoy our holiday treats in moderation and indulge in fellowship with our family and friends and time spent preparing our hearts for Christmas.

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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2 Responses to "He (or She) Who Indulges…"

It can be so hard to pass on all the sweets and goodies! This is a great reminder of keeping things in moderation this season!

I even struggle with not sampling the cookie dough as I bake Christmas cookies! But I’m happy to say I’ve been a bit better this year. Having someone else helping and baking fewer batches of cookies has helped 🙂

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