I was at the grocery store the other day when I suddenly felt a chill, and I wasn't even in the frozen food section. It was just the thought of how soon January would be here and how the supermarket would be transformed that brought goosebumps.
Several days before January begins, the grocery shelves reveal a miraculous change. Where one day there are sumptuous fruit and pumpkin pies and mile-high coconut and creamy fudge cakes, the next there is a pyramid of cans of black-eyed peas near a huge bin of collard greens. Packages of hog jowls fill the spots where before there were plump turkeys and succulent hams. These changes do not portend a month of happy mealtimes.
January has a distinctive vocabulary. Words like "healthful," "nutritious," "fat free," and "low calorie" are everywhere. The decadent foods, which were so popular just the previous months, are suddenly out of vogue. Various media jump on the bandwagon in support of nutritious foods. Articles in newspapers and magazines not only depict which foods to eat, but they also tell how to prepare them so that they will be even more healthful. On the morning TV programs, chefs prepare low-fat, low-calorie desserts for the hosts to try, and despite their protestations to the contrary, I know the desserts must be low taste.
Feeling compelled on one January day to, at least, try a more healthful dessert than the gooey pecan pie at home in the refrigerator, I bought some low fat cookies. I thought that if they tasted as good as they looked on the package's picture of light chocolate cookies with a dark fudge stripe, I might even like them. When I got home, I opened the package and bit into the delicious looking cookie. The package would have been just as tasty! "Maybe," I thought, "I could roll the cookie in sugar or spread cream cheese on it."
Not only is January a drab month for meals, it is also a month which promotes exercise as an important part of one's lifestyle. Again, a big assist comes from the media. We are encouraged to walk and jog and work-out in ways which really tire the body and make for sore muscles. Though all this activity is promoted as fun, it's not nearly as pleasurable as curling up in an easy chair with a good book and some homemade fudge within reach. While many may extol the virtues of a fat-free diet, I'm still waiting for word that chocolate pie will cure the woes of the world.
While my words were just in jest, I must keep in mind the words in I Corinthians 6:19-20, in which we are instructed to honor God with our bodies because we were bought with a price.
Verna Cole Mitchell is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired teacher, who is so grateful to God for all his blessings. Her desire is to honor God with her life and with her words.