I've been thinking a lot this month about the "true meaning of Christmas," the "reason for the season," etc. I just haven't really found big things that we can do to make a difference to someone this season. We donated a big turkey to the ward turkey drive for Thanksgiving, which felt good. I honestly don't really care about getting presents anymore; I LOVE giving presents more than ever. I'm going a little overboard with Kenz's family's presents haha. But other than the love of giving and the turkey drive and the cookies I'm making for gifts, I really don't feel like I've done/am doing anything really Christmasy.
My parents are amazing examples of the Christmas Spirit. They generously donate every year to the Secret Santa their ward does for families in need. One Christmas when I was about 14, our neighbors were unemployed and had two young kids who would not get much for Christmas. My parents asked us if we would each be willing to give up one present so we could use the money to buy things for their family. We did it, and went shopping for them that night and it was the most amazing feeling.
The Christmas that I was on my mission in France was another amazing Christmas. I was donating 18 months of my life to the Lord, bringing joy to the lives of others and not thinking about myself. It was probably the best Christmas of my life.
Today I happened upon the blog of a friend of a friend. She has had two stillborn babies in the past 18 months, but she and her husband's faith has only been strengthened by relying on the Lord and trying to live Christlike lives so they can be with their children again. Reading her heartbreaking story really helped me to examine my relationship with the Savior right now. Am I doing everything I can to have a strong relationship with Him? Am I doing my best to do the "little things," like daily prayer and scripture study? I can definitely do better.
This is the Christmas season, and there is emphasis on doing good in our Savior's name. I know now that the best way I can honor His name now and throughout the year is to follow His teachings. Keep His commandments. Show Him how much I appreciate His sacrifice by being an example.
I really love the words to the song "I Celebrate the Day" by Relient K (Kenz's favorite band). It's off of their Christmas album. The chorus says, "I celebrate the day that you were born to die so I might really live."
Missing my sweet family this Christmas!