I’ve got a present for you. A Christmas present.
It’s too early? I don’t think so, and I think the earlier you open it the better your Christmas will be.
In our family we’ve already exchanged our Christmas gifts . Doing it early was lovely – unhurried, very special, no massive build up and quick let down, instead it felt like a surprise moment of starlight. I want you to have some starlight too.
So this present – it’s a gift for everyone, but it may be that some people will need it more than others. I gave it to a friend last week, and it made me realize that it’s probably quite in demand.
Here it comes. Close your eyes. Reach out your hands. Drumroll please.
I give you permission to stop worrying about, and criticising, your body over the Christmas period.
I give you the gift of seeing that your body is marked by love and that makes it very, very beautiful and precious.
That’s it. That’s the gift.
As mothers we have a really difficult relationship with our bodies, although it’s also pretty simple. We want them to be smaller. We want there to be less of us.
I’ve often thought that is crazy. Why would you ever want to be less of you? I do of course understand that there can be health issues, but there is also a constant striving for a body shape which is really unnecessary and massively damaging.
I am a mother of three children and I started thinking about why my body may not be just how I want it to be. And I realised that as well as giving my heart and my time and my money to my children, I’ve also given them my body. Yes, it grew them and birthed them, but since then my body has fed and carried them. Gone without sleep so that they would sleep. Done without exercise or eaten less than ideally because I’m so tired from the demands of motherhood. Being a parent so often means that my needs are subsumed to those of my children, and that is because I love them and I don’t regret it for one second…. but it may mean that I am a little down the list of priorities.
So when I look at my body, or the number on the scales, I can feel very unlovely. And when we feel unlovely we make it harder for other people to come close enough to love us.
This week of advent it’s all about love. In fact Christmas is all about love. It’s about a God who loved his creation so much he came to be with them. He came to be one of them.
You are loved more than you could ever begin to understand.
The candle we lit at church on Sunday morning was the candle of Love. Later in the day gathered round our advent ring at home, my children suggested we should tell each member of the family something that we loved about them. It was unexpected and rich. There was a tendency for the recipient to lower their gaze. It seems we find it hard to be told what it is that makes us lovely.
Please don’t lower your gaze. Please don’t look away.
Take the gift.
Look at your body and see that it is a body that has loved.
Doesn’t that make you feel proud of your body? Isn’t loving the best and most important thing?
Thank you for accepting the gift.
I hope that you find you can stop thinking about whether you look ok, or you’ve put on weight or you’ve lost weight.
Hide the scales.
Smile at yourself in the mirror.
Wear clothes that make you happy and do whatever it is that you want to do – whether it’s sitting on the sofa snuggling with the family, or being the Dancing Queen.
You are lovely. You have loved. You are loved.