This is the best news I’ve seen today: eating ice cream right after waking up can improve alertness and mental performance. This is the conclusion of a study showing that people who consumed ice cream for breakfast showed better reaction time and were able to process information more effectively.
Test subjects experienced an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, which are associated with higher levels of alertness and can reduce mental irritation. Drinking cold water also produced higher levels of alertness and mental capacity, but not to the same degree as ice cream.
I should have eaten ice cream for breakfast yesterday.
It was one of those days. I was waiting for an important call; when it finally came, my iPhone died. I took the phone to the store, where I was told that I needed to buy a new one. Since it wasn’t working it had no trade-in value, so the cost of the new phone was going to be significant. Just then a call came into my Apple Watch from the phone. It turned out the phone was working but the screen I replaced a month earlier had gone out. So my phone now has another screen and seems to be working. At least for today.
That’s not the least of the day’s challenges. A doctor’s appointment that ran late, traffic on the Tollway that made me late to a Bible study I was teaching, misdirection by my GPS that made me late to an appointment after the Bible study, other frustrations I won’t describe here—I’m glad Wednesday is done and today is a new day.
In The Pocket Thomas Merton we find this reflection:
“How many people there are in the world of today who have ‘lost their faith’ along with the vain hopes and illusions of their childhood. What they called ‘faith’ was just one among all the other illusions. They placed all their hope in a certain sense of spiritual peace, of comfort, of interior equilibrium, of self-respect.
“Then when they began to struggle with the real difficulties and burdens of mature life, when they became aware of their own weakness, they lost their peace, they let go of their precious self-respect, and it became impossible for them to ‘believe.’ That is to say it became impossible for them to comfort themselves, to reassure themselves, with the images and concepts that they found reassuring in childhood.”
What should we do? Merton: “Place no hope in feelings of assurance, in spiritual comfort. You may well have to get along without this.”
The monk was right. Our feelings can result from factors that have nothing to do with our faith—the supper we ate last night, the headlines in today’s news, a broken cell phone screen. As my high school youth minister used to say, feelings should be the caboose at the end of the train, not its engine.
Christmas is a fact before it is a feeling. Its significance transcends its season. Amid the celebrations and challenges of the holidays, we can find the very real presence of the Child who was born in Bethlehem and born again in your heart and mine. When we keep our focus on Jesus, we can “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1–2). But only then.
Eating ice cream in the morning may have its benefits. But meeting Jesus in the morning can change your day, and your life.