Thursday, December 26, 2013
The Gift of Christmas
The lights still shimmer downstairs and Andy Williams is serenading me about snow and sleighbells. But, it's over. Once again, the season has come and gone in a mere blinking of an eye. The shopping and wrapping and worrying have melted into forgetfulness. Because, that is not what I'll remember.
I'll remember my children gleefully buying gifts for one another, picking them oh, so carefully. I'll remember my two youngest who wrapped up their own possessions--YuGioh cards and stuffed animals and even a bank containing $5.24 (a fortune to a six-year-old)-- and put gift tags on them. I'll remember the squeals of delight at the surprises and the tears that I could not hold back.
I didn't do all of the things I'd planned this season. Our scripture list to read each night went mostly ignored. Our service goals fell short. The amazing family home evening lessons turned into watching A Christmas Story and the Grinch. I thought that I'd failed.
But, as I watched them on Christmas morning, I realized there is a lesson even here. Amid the wrapping paper and the stockings and the boxes strewn around the room. Here we learn the pure joy of giving. We learn that no matter what we give, no matter the price, when we take something that is ours and willingly, happily give it away, our hearts expand. You'd think that getting would endear others to us, but it isn't so. It is in the giving that we develop true love.
I sat and watched my children open gifts from me and my heart lept. But, when I watched them open gifts from one another, watched them experience that joy of giving, my heart felt like it might burst. This is what Christmas is about.
Christmas is the celebration of giving. It is the celebration of the Savior. Everything in His life was about giving.
Mary, sweet Mary, gave her life, as all mothers do, to become His mother. She gave her body, her time, her everything to raise the Savior of the world.
Joseph gave as well. He gave his will and any pride he might have had to raise a son that was not his own.
The Wise Men gave gifts and they gave loyalty, by protecting the Babe.
His entire life, people gave for Him.
And, of course, Jesus himself gave more than anyone. He gave us examples and knowledge. He gave sight to the blind, health to the infirm, forgiveness to the sinful. And hope. To all of us, He gave hope. Because He gave us the greatest gift of all. He gave us the Atonement- a way back, a pathway to return to live with Him and our Father again. Then, He gave His life, so we can all live again. He always loved us, but when He gave us everything He had, imagine how this made Him cherish us. And, He continues to give--guidance and protection and love. Always love.
He is the author of Giving. We give what we can, and, in so doing we learn, just a bit, of who He is and how we can become more like Him.
That is what Christmas is about. And, while I sat and watched our Christmas unfold, I knew, it wasn't perfect, but, we had celebrated it the way we should. By giving.