December is a hard time of year for me. There were a number of years that I didn’t even want to put up a Christmas tree.
When he was fourteen, my nephew died from leukemia. I remember my sister saying, “How can we even celebrate Christmas?” I put my arm around her and told her that we did it for the other children.”
This came back to haunt me a number of years later when my own son died on December 14th. The last thing I wanted to do was decorate for Christmas. While we were away for the funeral our neighbors came into the house and left a little Norfolk pine decorated with candy canes, and little red ornaments. It was cute and it was enough.
I did decide that I wanted to put a little more Christ into our Christmas though and bought a small nativity; just Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus under our little tree. Every year for many years I added a figurine or two from the designer. First the shepherds, then the three wise men, sheep, a cow, a donkey, even three cats, till I had a complete set.
In the December 14 Ensign President Dieter F. Uchtdorf says
“When we think of Christmas, we often think of giving and of receiving gifts. Gifts can be part of a cherished tradition, but they can also detract from the simple dignity of the season and distract us from celebrating the birth of our Savior in a meaningful way.”
Think of the simple yet dignified way our Heavenly Father chose to honor the birth of His Son. On that holy night, angels appeared not to the rich but to shepherds. The Christ child was born not in a mansion but in a manger. He was wrapped not in silk but in swaddling clothes.
The simplicity of that first Christmas foreshadowed the life of the Savior. Though He had created the earth, walked in realms of majesty and glory, and stood at the right hand of the Father, He came to earth as a helpless child. His life was a model of modest nobility, and He walked among the poor, the sick, the downcast, and the heavy laden.
Though He was a king, He cared neither for the honors nor the riches of men. His life, His words, and His daily activities were monuments of simple yet profound dignity.
Jesus the Christ, who knew perfectly how to give, set for us the pattern for giving. To those whose hearts are heavy with loneliness and sorrow, He brings compassion and comfort. To those whose bodies and minds are afflicted with illness and suffering, He brings love and healing. To those whose souls are burdened with sin, He offers hope, forgiveness, and redemption.
If the Savior were among us today, we would find Him where He always was—ministering to the meek, the downcast, the humble, the distressed, and the poor in spirit. During this Christmas season and always, may we give to Him by loving as He loves. May we remember the humble dignity of His birth, gifts, and life. And may we, through simple acts of kindness, charity, and compassion, fill the world with the light of His love and healing power.”
My sister and I have each been doing a project a month this year. We trade months choosing projects. Her choice for December was to do a service a day till Christmas. Even just a phone call or note to a friend counts. One of mine was to help a high school student in Virginia with a paper for a class. She was interviewing different age groups, economic groups etc. on “What’s the meaning of life” I said the meaning of life is to give life meaning.
May you enjoy the spirit of Christ this Christmas and make a difference in someone’s life.