With Christmas over and New Year approaching, my mind returns to some of the memorable – and unmemorable! – New Years celebrations from my childhood.
From as far back as I can remember until I was at least a young teen, my uncle and his wife and daughter would always come over on New Years Eve. My dad, especially, enjoyed this yearly tradition, for it was one of the only times during the year that he was able to spend time with his youngest brother and his family. My mom put a smile on her face and went along with it all. It wasn’t that she didn’t like the company, but it was a lot of work for her to host this little party every year. For me, however, it was…HORRIBLE! You see, my uncle was a chain smoker, and in those days it was impolite to ask someone to not smoke in your house. Though this didn’t seem to bother my parents at all, it bothered me terrible because I am allergic to cigarette smoke.
My mother was sensitive to my problem, and she would excuse me from the primary happenings in the living room. “Go into the bathroom,” she would say. “Take your toys and play with your cousin in there!”
I would do that, and my cousin seemed happy enough to join me, but the smoke still came in under the closed bathroom door…
And so it was, every New Years’ Eve, from 8 pm until midnight… By the time midnight finally approached, I would be so sick from the smoke that I wished I could run away. They would leave then, but the cigarette smoke would linger in the apartment for days.
These horrible New Years’ Eve celebrations so burned themselves so effectively in my mind that I determined that I would never smoke; and that when I was old enough to live on my own, no one would ever smoke in my home.
Of course now all of the health dangers from smoking are well known and well documented. In many parts of the world smoking in public places is completely banned. I love the Bible verse: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV).
God heals our diseases, yes (see Ps. 103:3); but this doesn’t mean that we should purposefully do things that we know could harm our health. Because we are temples of God’s Spirit, we need to do our part in trying to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, practice stress management, spend time with God, and avoid things that could be detrimental to our health such as smoking, vaping, drugs and alcohol. Then we can trust God with the rest.
As New Year approaches, why not resolve to practice better health habits this year? When you do, not only will you will be taking steps to improve your own health; but you will also be making things a lot better for those around you!
In His Love,
(To access the entire “New Year? Horrible!” devotional series, please click here.)