Sunday, December 14, 2008

WALKING BUDDIES: Part 23 - Advent Conspiracy - December 13, 2008

The holidays sometimes bring out the worst in me.

As the countdown progresses from Black Friday to Christmas Eve and beyond, I sleep less, triggering the cross and cranky button in my brain.

I fret over the rising credit card balance as I repeatedly swipe my card.

And I quake in the presence of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future-weight gain—all the while taste-testing the cookie dough, nibbling on mixed nuts, and hoarding all the dark chocolate covered caramels in the Good’s deluxe 2 lb. gift box (the one I bought for my cousin; but then remembered she lives in Arizona and the candy will get all mushy in a hot UPS truck—so what’s a chocoholic to do, but eat it myself…).

Some days I just want to cry, “Bah, HUMBUG!” and hibernate for the holidays. Oh, but then I dream of chocolate and sleepwalk to my carefully guarded chocolate hideaway for a generous dose of serotonin and antioxidants. The mood elevator kicks in and I’m feeling fine, but then my blood sugar plummets from the sucrose overdose, so I head to the sofa for a nap—or back to the candy stash for another fix.

When the kids were young, I made a birthday cake every year and we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. One year I was so out of control that I almost single-handedly devoured Jesus’ birthday cake. I’m usually indifferent to the cake, but this particular year was different. I intentionally purchased a white cake mix and frosting. I’d have to be in dire straights to eat something so “Blah, Humbug!” as white cake.

Well… I discovered that French white cake is dark chocolate’s European kissing cousin. I made countless trips to the kitchen that Christmas to slice just-a-sliver of cake. I polished it off in just under two days, six hours, and seventeen minutes.

Forever frosted in sticky, vanilla shame, I’ve not baked Jesus a cake since. Until I get to heaven, and am safe from gluttonizing Jesus’ birthday cakes, I might do well to join the Advent Conspiracy—an international movement that inspires us to replace consumption (chocolate or otherwise) with expressions of Christ’s compassion.

Here’s the plan: Give the gift of your time, presence, and relationship to loved ones and friends—and then with the money you save, make a donation to a worthy cause.

The Advent Conspiracy has overhauled my Christmas wish list. The clothes and books I asked for? Don’t need ‘em. What I really want is fresh drinking water, nutritious food, medical care, and barebones schools and school supplies—for those who do not have these simple things that I take for granted.

I especially want a goat (available via the India Gospel League for only $85). I think I’ll name her Grace. “Baa-a- (no humbug needed) a-a-a!”

How do you plan to honor Jesus this Christmas?

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