Activated - - NEWS - By Con­nie Cal­len­der Lind­say

Christ­mas is ap­proach­ing, and I’ve been think­ing about col­or­ful lights, Christ­mas trees, presents, Christ­mas car­ols, church bells, and most im­por­tantly, the birth of our Sav­ior, Je­sus Christ. And for some rea­son, I’ve also been think­ing about the col­or­ful hard rib­bon candy, choco­late drops, candy canes, choco­late-cov­ered cher­ries, and lit­tle square hard-candy treats of my child­hood Christ­mases.

I won’t be en­joy­ing any of those this year. My en­tire stom­ach was re­moved last year, due to dis­ease, and that has ruled out sweet treats for me for­ever. I’m not dis­cour­aged, though, be­cause I’ve found some­thing even sweeter. I sa­vor my friends and fam­ily. I’m thank­ful for my re­newed health and for be­ing able to travel with­out fear of need­ing an emer­gency trans­fu­sion or hav­ing my oxy­gen sup­ply sud­denly cut off. Each day I taste the good­ness of God as I ex­pe­ri­ence His mer­cies, mir­a­cles, and blessings. Those things sat­isfy my sweet tooth now. I don’t miss candy at all.

Re­place­ments for my usual Christ­mas treats this year also in­clude pet­ting a dog; the sweet­ness of my grand­daugh­ter’s face as she looks into mine; hold­ing my hus­band’s hand and hear­ing him say he’s so glad he mar­ried me; my daughter say­ing she ap­pre­ci­ates me; friendly neigh­bors; good doc­tor vis­its and good test re­sults; the beauty of the sap­phire win­ter night sky; and the in­no­cence of the grace­ful deer, wild tur­keys, and other wildlife that flour­ish here.

I used to love my Christ­mas fudge! But in­stead of ac­quir­ing the “Christ­mas spread” that comes with abun­dant eat­ing, this year I’ll spread Christ­mas cheer. When I think about my re­newed en­ergy and trea­sures that were over­shad­owed for years by bad health, I know God is giv­ing me new chances in life. I won’t let those gifts go to waste. I’ll use that en­ergy to pass out some “Christ­mas candy” of my own.

We all want good things in our lives. And we have them. We just need to look around and ap­pre­ci­ate them. In­dulge your­self this Christ­mas! Love life and the lov­ing God who cre­ated it. “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” It won’t

1 make you fat or rot your teeth. It’ll do your heart more good than by­pass surgery, and it’ll take years off your face. It won’t raise your blood su­gar lev­els, but will raise the hope in your soul.

Bet­ter yet, be a can­dy­maker—an in­sti­ga­tor of lit­tle deeds of thought­ful­ness and kind­ness, the things that sweet me­mories are made of. Let “good will to­ward men” sweeten your Christ­mas sea­son. Sa­vor it and share it.

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