Have you ever felt rushed at Christmas? Do you ever find yourself just waiting for the weeks to be over so you can relax and enjoy that anticipated moments with family, only to find that it ends far too quickly? For me, I wish I could start those memories long before December 25th. I wish I had more time to really reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ and ponder the significance of His birth and His life.
Overdoing it is especially common this time of year for many of us… The causes for this might include too many Christmas activities to attend, too much to eat, too many expectations and too much tension. Often our efforts at Christmas time result in our feeling stressed out, wrung out and worn out during a time we should feel the simple joys of commemorating the birth of our Savior. (Christmas Devotional, 2012)
The sweetest Christmas moments for me are hardly ever found in my Christmas cards, the gift-giving and receiving or the multitude of family dinners. Though I love all of those events and treasure the innocence of my children, the highlights are clearly the times we all draw together and feel the spirit in our home.
I find tremendous purity and simplicity of purpose when I contemplate a small baby, the promised Messiah, finally coming into the world. It makes me want to gather my family closer and talk about how our lives have been blessed because of Him and how wonderful their lives will become the more they pattern themselves after the Savior.
Dr. James Faulconer, a professor at Brigham Young University wrote,
The Son did not just dip his toe into the cold waters of mortality. He plunged in head first. Whatever joy or suffering we have experienced, he too has experienced it. He is not distant from us, but like us, bone and flesh. Jesus’ birth is a token of the work he does: he was born as a baby, becoming a living body like our own, because his work was to redeem our souls, our living, lived bodies rather than only some immaterial thing. (From Explanations to Atonement, December 19, 2012)
I love how Dr. Faulconer talks about him “plunging in.” Jesus Christ did not hesitate to take upon him life’s extremities and fulfill His divine role for mankind. How comforting! How extraordinary! How worthy of so much more contemplation and time than I sometimes fail to give. Could we not all spend a little more time this Christmas season devoting our activities towards becoming like Him?
Every year on Christmas Eve, my family and I watch the posted video below. And I weep every time. There is nothing of significance spoken during the film, it is purely the feelings. I love when the wise men are in deep discussions over the maps and then the beautiful, emotional awareness that comes over the man when he sees the star. And I love the people gathered around the baby, especially the little girl and the woman. It makes me wonder how many people were instantly affected and knew of the importance of this event.
President Monson concludes his talk by saying,
Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others.
May your Christmas this year be centered on the Savior, and may we strive more deeply to be like Him throughout the coming year.