On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Luke 2:11-12
I’m not one for diets, and many of the ones promising quick weight loss are full ingredients I can’t eat, anyway. I enjoy cooking and have the time to make meals and snacks from scratch, so few prepackaged foods are in my cupboards. I read labels, support local farms, and do my best to buy meats and eggs raised humanely and organically. I do my best to avoid overeating. In the usual sense, I already watch what I eat.
But Epiphany is the season of going home by a different road – or watching what I eat as somehow related to my faith life. Food that sustains is more than proper sourcing and appropriate portioning. It’s a gift to have enough food, and a daily miracle when that food supports small farms that leave the earth enriched rather than depleted. It’s worth the higher price to know that the animals I consume didn’t live and die in dirty, cramped quarters. As my husband once said, isn’t the life of the turkey that provides my Christmas dinner worth much more than forty cents a pound?
This year, I’ll continue to do my usual shopping, cooking, and gardening. My family will say grace and waste as little food as possible. We will support Heifer International so others can do the same. But I’ll watch what I eat in a whole new way, too. I’ll eat slowly enough to savor my food and the company around the table. I’ll notice the colors and shapes on my plate. I’ll do my best to see the hand of God in each meal. I’ll watch what I eat because there’s grace in every bite.