I have had such a happy, relaxing Christmas season this year. I’ve been trying to analyze what made it so easy so I can do it again every year! Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. I’ve been milking the “I just had a baby” excuse for all it’s worth. I didn’t sign up for ANYTHING extra. No helping in classes, no hosting parties, no taking meals to those in need. Nada. I realize that may not be the best long-term approach to life, but it sure has allowed me to relax and enjoy my own family this year.
This is the newest addition to our Christmas book collection. Gingerbread Pirates. I think it’s funny that I have to read to them “classroom style.” It’s the only way everyone can see!
2. The one exception to #1 was that I was asked to direct the choir for the Stake Christmas concert. I was a bit hesitant, because I knew it would be hard. And it was! As of the day before the concert, I was still a nervous wreck! Wondering if we would have an orchestra or not was the biggest stressor. (Well, that, and the fact that I have never even been IN an orchestra, let alone direct one! Scary!) But the night of the concert, everything came together perfectly! We had over 50 people in the choir, and a 15(ish) piece orchestra. They were amazing!! What a rush to stand up there and wave my arms, and have such beautiful music happen! The church was completely filled all the way back to the stage, and I got so many compliments. Every single musical number that night was outstanding. I still get goosebumps remembering…
3. We got our Christmas shopping done early, and mostly online. The kids’ shopping was much more fun this year too. Instead of taking them all at the same time and trying to hide all of their presents from each other, I took them in shifts. Simon and I went to the dollar store while the other kids were at school, and I had so much fun being able to listen to just him, and talk through what each of his siblings would like. It was hard to convince him that the girls, for example, would not especially want a dinosaur or a truck!
4. We planned ahead. We had a family home evening where each child got to pick a Christmas tradition that was important to them, and we made a list. Then when we had a free evening, (which we seemed to have more than usual. See #1) we would do one of those activities. Temple Christmas lights, gingerbread houses, caroling, ice skating, hot chocolate and Christmas movies, and secret santa-ing a family. Check, check and check!
With everything else running so smoothly, I felt like I had time to really think about what Christmas means in my life. Yes it means fun family activities and heart-stirring music, but the birth of Jesus Christ brought so much more than that to me.
Because He was born on the earth, I have his life and example to follow. Because He died for me, I can repent and change. I can become better. Because He lives still, He can help to carry my burdens and bring peace to my life. I feel like I have come to know Him and depend on Him more this year than I had before. And the closer I get to Him, the more I am filled with love. For Him, for my family, for my fellowman, and for myself.
To be continued…