Every blogger should have a devoted fan like Mary. She reads and rereads every post, laughs at loud at my not so funny jokes and compliments my writing. One of these days, I’ll teach her how to correct all my typos and restore old photos.
Lately she’s been reminiscing over past Christmases– scrolling through photos, watching videos, making lists of things to do this year…. and I’m completely intimidated by the past me. I have to shield my eyes from the sparkling photos, majestic tree, glorious gingerbread houses. How can I possibly make a Christmas video for Stefan as good as last year? I’m not sure I can even pull together a card.
Today, December 1st, we still have Hans’ birthday balloons drifting around the house, piles of laundry from our Thanksgiving trip to San Diego, the kitchen counter so covered with detritus I can barely find the sink. Not a single gift purchased, decoration hung or advent calendar filled with chocolate.
But I also know, thanks to Mary’s research, that I always feel this way on December 1st
and whatever I do is enough. Whether we bake a gingerbread house or not, buy two gifts or twenty, do every act of service we plan or attend each Christmas concert– it’s enough. I carry the Spirit of Christmas for my family; I can offer peace or frantic chaos. I choose peace.
I can’t keep up with past Christmases. Things change; everything changes. And all of it, everything, looks glossier, more precious with the patina of time. But where we once had babies, we now have a puppy. And while we’re missing Stefan, we have Ben home home home!
Once again we’ve posted President Howard W. Hunter’s Christmas gift list on our refrigerator:
mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter.
Give a soft answer.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Forgo a grudge.
Forgive an enemy.
Try to understand.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love and then speak it again.
Christmas is a celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning—with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself unselfishly in the things that matter most.