Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me. John 6:35 (The Message)
When Jesus taught, he used analogies that people could relate to. We can relate to food, right? Especially as we enter into the dark days of winter, out bodies crave carbohydrates. Those carbs are “comfort foods” and they come by that name honestly. They give us comfort. Carbs make us feel good.
Carbohydrates are precursors to serotonin, that neurochemical we crave in order to feel an upgraded mood. As we perceive less light, the brain gets the signal to find more serotonin. An easy way to do that, to get more serotonin with diminishing light available (here in the northern hemisphere), is to get it with food. Therefore, we bring on the carbs!
Bread, sugar, alcohol, etc. are those things that give our brain that satisfied feeling of comfort. They are dished out in increasing amounts as we enter the darker winter time. So, it is no surprise that we get a glut of those foods around this time of year.
Especially as we deal with all the stress of this year, we may indulge more in that rush of carbs. Obviously, restraint should be in order, but we may fail a bit, and I think we can understand that, maybe more this year than ever.
A couple of thoughts come to mind. One, if you are going to eat more carbs, try to balance with more exercise. You can never exercise yourself to weight loss, but you can mitigate those self-indulgent forays of the season just a bit with more exercise. Besides, the exercise itself is a serotonin engine, so get after the exercise!
Next, remember that the season is about the Bread of Life that Jesus discussed in the passage above. He is the real comfort we seek through all the other pathways that are temporary. A relationship with the true Bread of Life is completely satisfying.
Prayer: Father, help us to remember that Jesus is the bread of life that satisfies, Amen.