My Favorite Things at Christmas

The NativityNext week is Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. It’s the time of year I love most of all.

Christmas wasn’t always a time I looked forward to with anticipation. Some Christmases were lonely and difficult. But Christmas reminds all of us that hope, peace, and joy are not gone forever.

Commercialism and busyness aside, what is it about Christmas that you love? Here are a few of MY favorite things this year. Perhaps this will help you think of your own favorite things.

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Enjoying Sex After Menopause

Sexuality in MenopauseSome men complain their wives lose interest in intimacy around the time of menopause. Some women complain they can’t enjoy sex the way they used to. These changes can put a lot of stress on a marriage.

A woman’s sexual response is a very delicate and interconnected thing. Physical discomfort, hormonal changes, stress – all that and more can affect her desire and ability to engage in intimacy. It may often be difficult to decide exactly which factor is most important.

As a gynecologist I’ve helped women with these problems for many years. And I know menopause does not have to be the end of desire: it can be the beginning! I will always remember one lovely lady I saw as a patient who married for the first time at age 56. She and her husband quickly enjoyed a healthy and enjoyable sex life. I believe you can too.

Here are some things you can do to maintain and even improve intimacy with your husband during and after menopause – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Physical Intimacy

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The Guaranteed Way to “Be Good for Goodness Sake”

Christmas MusicEverywhere there’s Christmas music. And I love it! However, the song encouraging children to “be good for goodness sake” has a nasty side effect. This Santa Claus Syndrome has made many people feel like a failure in their Christian life.

Are you one of those people who has become sick and tired of trying to be good? I’m glad! Maybe it’s about time you and I gave up. We can’t be good. That’s the whole point.

Oh, trying harder may well result in some good things. It may keep you out of jail, lessen your chances of having a heart attack, and give you a prettier bank account. But it won’t make you good.

Some people try hard to be good through a flurry of religious activity. Church work, church attendance, Bible study, small groups – it’s enough to make a person tired. And Jesus said He came to give us rest! (See Matthew 11:28-30)

On top of that, Jesus said He will say “I never knew you” to a lot of people who did a lot of religiously right things (Matthew 7:23).

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7 Good Things About Being Sick

Chronic IllnessBeing sick is not a good thing. When you read the Gospels, you can see that Jesus had only one attitude toward sickness, disease, and disability: He’s against it!   Tweet that.

I’m against it too. I’ve spent my whole career as a physician helping people to NOT be sick. And I’m going to continue to do so. I believe in healing, wellness, and wholeness, as I know God does.

However, that doesn’t mean there are not some hidden blessings available in being sick. I strongly believe God NEVER wants His children to be hurt or in pain. But He is incredibly good at bringing good things out of evil, and turning what the devil meant for our harm into something redemptive. (Genesis 50:20)

Looking for the possible good things God can bring out of our pain helps us keep things in perspective. From our human vantage point, here are a few possible good things we can glean from sickness:

  1. Slow down! My husband has some chronic health problems and is not able to walk nearly as fast as I am. That has forced me to slow down in many ways, even as simply as when we go grocery shopping together. It has helped me learn that speed is not all it’s cracked up to be! Only in our modern Western world does speed seem to be important at all. For what? It’s good to slow down.

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Who Will Be Around You On Your Deathbed?

Holding Hands on DeathbedNo one wants to die alone. It may feel a bit morbid, but thinking about your last earthly days is one of the most clarifying questions any one of us can ask.

The truth is there are only a very few people who are likely to be there when you take your last breath. And unless you don’t want anyone around at all, wouldn’t it be wise to invest most now in the people who are likely to be there at the end?

For many years I worried a great deal about what everybody else thought of me: teachers, employers, classmates, coworkers, patients, friends, and business contacts. It’s right to treat all these people well, kindly, and with respect. But almost all of them are only in your life for a short time. And that’s OK.

Recognizing how temporary most relationships are is both freeing and sobering.

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