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There’s no doubt, Christmas hurts the waistline.

The chocolates, cinnamon buns (Pioneer Woman anyone?) and sugar cookies, the turkey and potatoes and perogies, and for a former anorexic, the choices are overwhelming. Do I just take all five salads? How many pieces of ham? And what about the dozens of desserts?

I’m far from those eating disorder days, yet not as far as I thought.

I’ve got two boys now, and I know they’re watching me. I’ve got a husband who loves my curves, yet when the pants grow snug, I feel less-than.

And I immediately make plans to cut back in January, because it’s the magical month, isn’t it, ladies? The month to get back into shape? The month to reclaim that size six dress, to purge for all of December’s sins?

Diet pill companies love January. Commercials full of men and women lamenting their size, and none of it’s about health — it’s all about the bottom dollar, and meanwhile, we’re losing our sons and daughters to the industry. The message of Bethlehem forgotten.

Girls as young as four years old are dieting because mommy and daddy are complaining about their “Christmas rolls” and the damage of holiday excess lasts year long.

We can celebrate, yes, but let’s teach our girls and boys how to do it with grace. Let’s show compassion towards ourselves when we eat too many chocolates because we are human.And let January be a month of forgiveness. What better way to start the New Year?

Forgiveness — towards ourselves, towards each other — even as we stumble along and try to figure out this life, in our snug pants, the hospitals full of starving youth, because it’s not about the size of our bodies. It’s about the size of our hearts.

It’s not about getting anything — be it thinner or back into shape. It’s about giving, long into the New Year.

It’s about giving our time, our food, our money, our homes. Like Magi we follow the stars laden with presents for the Christ-child. And the pants will adjust, even as the feasting dies down. The fridge will one day be emptied of leftovers, the candy put away.

But even as the tree is packed up and the ornaments stowed, Jesus is still being born among us. Come to set us free from the scale, from food, so we might know life abundant in him.

And this, friends, is something worth celebrating.