My heart has been right up on the surface for this whole Christmas season. Everything makes me cry. Everything seems precious, holy.
It's partly because I've been through some difficult times this year. I've been humbled a little.
It's partly because I've dived into Christmas like I think I never have before. Music, decorating, baking, I have been into every bit of it, ever since we came back from our Thanksgiving trip to Utah. It's my first whole Christmas season in my own home (it took us almost the whole season last year just to unpack an settle in). I love it.
It's also partly because I have really been focused on improving my spirituality. I'm studying every day for the first time in a while - not just reading but studying, writing about my thoughts and feelings. I'm praying in a different way. I'm trying to do something more each day to bring the Spirit into my life, too - listening to a conference talk while I work out, sacred music in the car, reading from a Church magazine, serving someone. This stuff makes a big difference. I'm trying to choose faith every day. It changes who I am. Not that I don't still have a long way to go - I am still impatient and demanding and difficult sometimes. But I have different thoughts when I am making this kind of effort. I like it better.
Here are some things I have been thinking about Christmas.
How many poets and composers have tried to imagine Mary's lullaby to the infant Christ? We feel sure she sang, although the books we have don't record it. I feel it, because I, too, sing to children of God.
Holy days, these days when my kids are young and excited and still learning and all together under our roof. Just being together is so sacred.
I was blessed with the opportunity to coordinate a donation from the Bishop's Storehouse to our local homeless shelter. We also collected new pillows and various paper goods for them from the members of our ward. When I spoke with the director near the beginning of this month to determine their needs, she told me one of their residents had a three week old baby girl, born while her parents were living in the shelter. My heart broke. I understood the plight of the Christ Child in a new way. How blessed I am to have a clean, safe, secure place for my children. Earlier this week when we delivered the food donation, I saw the baby in her car seat, tiny and shell-pink and perfect, just beautiful. She was on her way out with her parents to move into a new apartment that very day. Christmas miracle. Also that very day, the shelter had made up 70 food baskets for families in need, effectively emptying their pantry. We were able to restock their shelves. I am so grateful to have been even just an intermediary in that process.
Merry Christmas. Holy Day.