Saturday, December 24, 2011

welcome, Christmas...welcome, Savior...

It has been a very, very hard Christmas season for me this year. Usually it's all happiness and bustle to get things ready and beautiful to celebrate this time to remember the Savior. This year it's been less happiness and more bustle. It's very strange because I've been absolutely surrounded by opportunities to feel the Spirit and to be touched by the stories of Christmas. There have been multiple experiences when I've felt overwhelmed with gratitude and joy; almost immediately those feelings turn into deep sadness. I don't know what it is. I keep examining myself to see what I need to do differently. Believe me, I find things that need to be changed, but they don't seem to be so severe as to cause this kind of pain and loneliness.

Today has been another very hard day. I'm very grateful that yesterday was such a good day. I had a lot of things to think about and remember to keep smiling: mailing Jordan's present; delivering gifts with Ann to Teddy, the Eggetts, Brianna, and the Raddatzes; going to see A Christmas Carol with Ann and her family; watching Balto for the first time with Ann and her sister Jenny; then a very late night adventure to Walmart with Ann and Jenny in search of a tie for their uncle (whom Ann had forgotten to get a gift for).

Luckily I spent most of the day at work, 10am-4pm. I say lucky because it kept me busy thinking about things like price labels, balloons, customers and their needs, Parker and Tracy being silly with me, and all things work-related. At the back of my mind were the worries though. Little Amy being very sick. Tuition. Balancing choir, work, and school work next semester. Trying to remember the new things Tracy trained me on at work. Family relationships. Friends who I miss, and those who I see but wonder what they think of me. My plans to serve a mission.

Christmas Eve became merrier for me however. After a rather exciting adventure to the grocery store (involving many purchases of holiday ice cream flavors and sparkling cider), my family and I had a very tasty dinner of seasoned bread dipped in olive oil and herbs with glasses of sparkling cider. Then mom invited me to go with her to the store on some last minute gift searches. I make it a rule to never shop on the eve before a holiday. One day before Halloween and Thanksgiving were dangerous enough, but Christmas? I was a wee bit nervous as we headed out. However, it was rather fun! We found very magical things, including Wild Berry Sprite and peanut brittle! Oh, sugar. I love you.

The return home also brought the return of the worries and fears and a very sad feeling. Instead of going right to bed, a movie was put in: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. I've loved it ever since I was very little. It's always been one of my very favorite Christmas movies. This was the first time watching it as an adult, and I found that I loved it even more because I caught more of the humor and more of the meaning. It touched me very deeply, reminding me again what Christmas really is about and helping to ease the hurt inside a little bit. And yes, I did cry. But don't tell my family!

Shortly after finishing the movie, I received an email from a dear friend, Amy's mother. Two sentences into the email I was in tears again. I was so grateful for her kind words, and it helped so much to know that someone out there was thinking of me with kindness. Sometimes what a person needs is to be reminded that somewhere out there is someone who cares.

The Savior cares. That's what Christmas is all about. He cared enough to give everything, to be born into a fallen, mortal world with a mortal body and mortal parents, to live as a man with fallen neighbors and strangers--so fallen that it was up to Him to save each one of us by giving His life. That's how much He cares. It's pretty incredible to think about.

And so, I say, welcome, Santa Claus! Not because of the temporary joy that is brought by gifts and things and such, but because of the reminder Santa Claus gives us. Santa, the giver and bringer of happiness on earth. Savior, the giver and bringer of happiness for eternity. Would that we could always be such as He, giving without restraint to those who are sad or hurt or alone. This is my new goal: to give and to love and to be like Jesus! What better example than He of how to live? Welcome, Christmas! Welcome, Savior!

"Poor, misguided folks. They missed the whole point. Lot's of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn't Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn't a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give: of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa's beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men."

-Mailman, "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"

"And in doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord."

-Doctrine and Covenants 81:4

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