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The Gift of Good Health

The Gift of Good Health
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F-R-A-G-I-L-E    Not exactly a welcomed descriptor as one grows older. Many view their health as an elusive balancing act, easily fractured by age, accident, heredity, or other circumstances.  That appraisal can be detrimental to health and undermines the robust peace we desire.

If you have ever watched the venerable classic, A Christmas Story, you can’t forget the image of the exotic leg-lamp in the front window of the Parker home.  The “major award” was the pride of the Old Man, whose feelings of accomplishment were soon dashed by the “accidental” destruction of the infamous neighborhood attraction.

“Oh, life is like that,” adult Ralphie comments in his narration during the movie. “Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”

Anxiety over the perceived vulnerability of our own welfare is a lousy motivator for maintaining a healthy life, even instigating the very conditions we wish to avoid.  Numerous studies point to the destructive effects on health contributed by the stressors in life.

Some of that pressure is the result of incessant contemplation and conversation about ill health, reinforcing the lingering fears or doubts we might have.  Still more burden results from the bombardment of advertising which conjures up flashes of impending complications to our own well-being.

Ralphie’s fixation on a Red Rider BB gun offers up a good lesson on the influence of unrelenting discouragement.  In his quest to secure the “blue steel beauty” Ralphie is repeatedly rebuffed by the adults around him.  Their constant rant “You’ll shoot your eye out” weighs heavily on him.   His dream of becoming the hero-of-the-day finally succumbs to resignation just before his dad steps in to present him the revered toy “with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.”

Think of it this way: How many times would someone have to tell you “You’re a bank robber,” before you admitted that you are one?  Hopefully never, since you have not committed such an offense. The suggestion seems as improbable as Ralphie going off to pal around with the scoundrels he vanquishes in his dream of conquest.  Yet, how often do we accept the repetitive tag of sickliness and dysfunction when it comes to gauging our health standing?

Our insecurities are easy targets for advertisers.  Merely throwing out the suggestion of a physical symptom is sometimes enough to sell us on its depleting demerits.  How important then to decode the messages of ill health and understand their deceptive claims.

When bullied by suggestions of impending cold, flu and the like, we can find it within ourselves to resist the ill-fated prognostications of suffering. “Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously,” is how Mary Baker Eddy once described it.

Like Ralphie’s showdown with yellow-eyed Scut Farkus and his toadie, Grover Dill, we can stand up to the fright mongers that undermine our confidence in wellness.  Health is, after all, a natural state of being.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?  And why art thou disquieted within me,” questions the Psalmist in the Bible. “Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

At this time of year when celebrating The Christmas Story, it’s comforting to remember the provision we have through God’s grace in challenging the ills we face.  When feeling fragile or ill-equipped to contest the verdict of illness, remember the angel message on that holy day in Bethlehem, “On earth peace, good will toward men.”

That message is as health-giving this year as it was eons ago. It’s the perfect gift.

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