Ah, the weekend before Christmas. Joyful, or not so much? Part of my Saturday list was to grocery shop for the coming holiday events. (It was a bit of an adventure, as most of the carts seemed to be pushed by people full of rum-laden eggnog.)
I was in my own happy place, with my airpods in place, listening to some decidedly not Christmas music. (I love Christmas music, but it is much like Christmas treats – once in a while you gotta put down the sweet and eat something savory.)
A song came on that is new to me, and as I was listening some lyrics jumped out at me:
You hear a lot about miracles,
and they do come true.
But not like "here is your fancy car,"
it's more like "I have some hope for you."
In a Lexus-wrapped-with-a-giant-bow kinda world, the value of hope outweighs anything tangible that we could ever be gifted. Christmas and New Years truly usher in a season of hope that we all try to hang onto into the coming year.
Longtime readers will remember a Christmas thought I have shared that I still feel carries a lot of weight: We try to focus on the Savior in the run up to Christmas, but, if we focus more on Him and His glorious atonement more in December than the rest of the year, then we are probably doing it wrong January thru November.
The baseline for our focus on the Savior is made clear by the covenants we made, a renew every week, “that they do ALWAYS remember Him.” (D&C 20:79)
So, I don’t get how in December we suddenly are at “Always + More” unless we are slacking the rest of the year. The idea behind the big things that we focus on at Christmas (The Savior, the Atonement, our Families, etc.) should already be a given.
That is why in my Christmas, there is room for Santa, Buddy the Elf, gifting and all the trimmings. They don’t diminish the Savior at all – they enhance the holiday. There are so many little things at Christmastime that can bring the us more joy and add some “sparkle.”. When I focus on this mindset, I take better notice of some wonderful small things:
- The service of a patient bell ringer in front of the store.
- A man who was at least 150 years old gently putting a poinsettia in his cart.
- The excitement as my married kids hit the road for their holiday.
- The care some kind teenager took to hide his face from our Ring doorbell as they left a generous, anonymous gift on our porch.
- The predictable tear in my eye as I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
- Taking for grandson on a walk and having him point out “Blue Light, Green Light, White Light”
- Having a friend unexpectedly drop by to bring toffee and conversation.
- Looking at the souvenir travel ornaments that decorate our tree.
- Ugly Christmas sweaters.
- Memes of people doing horrible things to the Elf on a Shelf. (Oops – sorry)
- Catching my wife with teary eyes from a cheesy Hallmark movie.
- People closing conversations and emails with “Merry Christmas.”
- Hermey the Dentist, et al.
- UPS and FedEx drivers working their tails off to deliver gifts on time. (Santa only has to do it ONE night.)
- Contests for the worst Christmas songs ever, (Thanks Abe.)
- The sound of the jingle bells on our front door.
- Watching my Primary kids work to learn to sign and sign a new Christmas song.
- Etc. (The list is endless, and probably completely different from yours.)
Knowing that Jesus was born and died for me is not news to me – it is part of my life’s very foundation, but hearing about how your boss gave you a box of steaks for Christmas, or driving down a street full of sparkling lights brings a smile and enhances the season for me.
You get what I’m saying – right?
Wishing each of you a very merry Christmas, filled with both the knowledge of the Savior and His mission, and the hope He brings, as well as the tiny things that bring us joy. Watch for them.