10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Titus 3: 1-7
3 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (happy Nativity!)
Everyone has at least a little bit of brown fat. Unlike regular old white fat, which stores calories, mitochondria-packed brown-fat cells burn energy and produce heat.
It was once thought that, in humans, only babies had brown fat. But in 2009, researchers found small amounts of brown fat in adults. What’s more, they found that people with lower body mass indexes (BMIs) tended to have more brown fat. This finding suggests “a potential role of brown [fat] in adult human metabolism,” the researchers wrote in their findings.
Because of brown fat’s ability to burn calories, scientists are looking for ways to exploit its power to help fight obesity. Here are five fascinating facts about this hot topic.
1. Brown fat is activated by cold.
Spending time in the cold makes your brown fat more active, and could even cause you to grow new brown-fat cells, according to a 2014 study conducted by National Institutes of Health researchers and published in the journal Diabetes. “It helps us to defend our body temperature in a comfortable manner,” said Barbara Cannon, a professor of physiology at the Wenner-Grenn Institute in Stockholm and president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “Mammals and birds [maintain] a more or less constant body temperature.”
Brown fat helps babies — who don’t yet have the ability to shiver — to stay warm. In adults exposed to cold temperatures, brown fat may serve as an “internal heating jacket” to keep blood warm as it flows back to the heart and brain from our chilly extremities, Harold Sacks, of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, and Michael Symonds, of the University of Nottingham in England, suggested in a 2013 paper.
2. It’s found in weird spots.
Brown fat is found in unpredictable locations in the body. “We know where brown fat can be found, but it’s not always there in every single person. There’s a region in the neck and the shoulders, and that is where you typically find it, but not everybody has it there,” said Aaron Cypess, head of the Diabetes, Endocrinology and Obesity Branch at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and part of the research team that found brown fat in adults in 2009. [Ready for Med School? Test Your Body Smarts]
In a recent study, Cypess and his colleagues also found brown fat in the chests and down the spines of a group of healthy young men. “It’s in a lot of interesting places in the abdomen,” Cypess said.
3. You have at least some brown fat.
Everyone has it. “Probably everybody has a few cells of brown fat, even if you can’t see it with a PET/CT scan,” Cypess told Live Science. “We do believe that you can grow them. We can probably grow it in anybody.”
4. It’s hard to find.
Brown fat can be hard to find, and to study. That’s because brown and white fat cells are often mixed in together in fat tissue, Cypess said. Finding the brown fat cells requires performing CT scans to show where the fat is, combined with PET scans (which requires injecting people with radioactive glucose) to identify the most metabolically active cells. Cypess and others are working to find less invasive, and less expensive, ways to spot brown fat and measure its activity.
5. Someday, you might be able to take a pill to activate your brown fat.
A drug that treats people with overactive bladder can boost brown fat activity, according to findings that Cypess and his colleagues reported in January 2015 in the journal Cell. The medication, called mirabegron, stimulates receptors called beta 3 receptors, which cause smooth muscle — in, for example, your bladder — to relax. These receptors also are found on both brown and white fat cells, the researchers said.
Drugs that fire up brown fat could be useful for treating people with fatty liver disease, a buildup of fat cells in the liver that may affect up to 25 percent of people in the United States, Cypess said.
“Happy Thanksgiving!” “Merry Christmas!” “Happy New Year!” As the end of the year approaches, everywhere we turn someone is telling us we should be happy.
But for those who’ve recently lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy. The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season are punctuated with painful reminders of the person we love who is not here to share in it. Many have wished they could find a quiet place to hide until January 2.
While those of us who surround grieving people can’t fix the pain of loss, we can bring comfort as we come alongside those who hurt with special sensitivity to what grief is like during the holidays. Grieving people wish we all knew at least five truths, among others, at Christmas.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend as we prepared to head out on a holiday trip shortly after our daughter, Hope, died. “That should be fun!” she said. I sensed I was supposed to agree wholeheartedly with her.
What I didn’t know how to explain is that when you’ve lost a member of your family, even the best of times are painfully incomplete. Someone is missing. Even the best days and happiest events are tinged with sadness. Wherever you go, the sadness goes with you.
I have never been able to figure out why crowds are difficult when you’re grieving, but they are. Small talk can be unbearable when something so significant has happened. Meeting new people will likely bring questions about family. To walk alone into a room full of couples when your spouse has died, or into an event filled with children when your child has died, can be a soul-crushing reminder of what you have lost.
“For those who’ve recently lost a loved one, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy.”
If you’ve invited someone in the midst of grief to your holiday event, let them know that you understand if it seems too hard at the last minute and they have to cancel, or that they may only be able to stay for a short time.
If you’re going to an event, give a grieving person a call and ask if you can pick her up and stick with her throughout the event for support. When you come upon a grieving person at a holiday social event, let him know that you are still thinking about the person he loves who has died, and invite him to talk about his memories with that person. Don’t be afraid to say the name of the person who has died. It will be a balm to the grieving person’s soul.
Grief is often awkward — even, and perhaps especially, with those to whom we’re closest.
My husband and I host weekend retreats for couples that have lost children, and the difficulty of being with family at the holidays is often a topic of conversation among these couples. They know that some family members think they’ve grieved long enough and want them to move on. Others want to initiate a conversation about the person who died but aren’t sure how. What often happens is that the name of the person who died is never mentioned, and it feels to the person who is grieving that they have been erased from the family.
Do you know a grieving person heading to a family gathering for the holidays? You might ask about their expectations when they’re with family. And if they have a strong desire for their loved one to be remembered in a certain way, combined with a fear that it may not happen, you might encourage and help them to write a letter to their family in advance stating clearly what would bring comfort, rather than expect that their family will instinctively know.
For most of us, grief tends to work itself out in tears — tears that come out at times we don’t expect. Sometimes grieving people sense that people around them see their tears as a problem to be solved — that tears must mean they aren’t doing very well with their grief. But it makes sense that the great sorrow of losing someone we love would come out in tears. Tears are not the enemy. Tears do not reflect a lack of faith. Tears are a gift from God that help to wash away the deep pain of loss.
It is a great gift to let grieving people know that they don’t have to be embarrassed by their tears around you — that they are welcome to cry with you. An even greater gift is to shed tears of your own over the loss of the person they love. Your tears reflect the worth of the person who died and assure them that they are not alone in missing that person.
In “O Holy Night,” we sing, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” Grieving people around you feel the weariness of life and death in this world and wonder how anyone around them can rejoice. They are in desperate need of the reality of Christ to break through their loneliness and despair. While we don’t want to preach at them, we do look for the opportunity to share with them the comfort and joy to be found in the coming of God himself in Christ to rescue us.
“Tears do not reflect a lack of faith. Tears are a gift from God that help to wash away the deep pain of loss.”
The life of Jesus that began in a wooden cradle will culminate in death on a wooden cross. But it will not be a senseless, meaningless death. It will be a death-conquering death, followed by new resurrection life. The writer of Hebrews explains, “The Son became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14 NLT). The power death has now, to bring so much sorrow, will not be the way it is forever. What Christ set in motion when he defeated death at his first coming will come to its full fruition when he comes again.
This is our great hope at Christmas, and the hope we have to share with those who are grieving at Christmas — that “yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” The Christ who came as a baby and died as our substitute will one day return to consummate his kingdom. And when he does, “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).
You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely, (Yeshua).
1 Peter 1: 18-19
Gal. 5:14: For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Including our global neighbors.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure & faultless is this: to look after orphans & widows in their distress” Jm1:27 @FamilyChristian
God can not give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.