Monday, December 3, 2012

Remembering Christ


My heart is full, and I would be remiss if I didn't take a few minutes to share my feelings of gratitude today. There is no time of year that I love more than Christmas, but to be honest, I've been spinning like a top every since Thanksgiving, and the spirit of the season has been in short supply around here. In the rush to write a couple of sacrament meeting programs I agreed to do, compose the poem I send out as a Christmas card every year, dream up and get down on paper the annual Christmas Eve story for my family, plan dinners and activities that will be at my home in the next two weeks, shop for gifts, and prepare to host the family on Christmas Day, I have felt more stressed than blessed. I haven't even been listening to Christmas music every waking hour like I usually do!

Thankfully, the north star that is my church has a way of making sure I receive the blessings I need when I need them. Saturday night, I pushed myself out the door to enjoy the annual Christmas dinner of our home ward (where Dave and I attended before he became bishop of the singles ward and where we will attend again once he is released). Frankly, I very nearly didn't go at all, feeling that my time would be better spent in continuing my preparations for Christmas. I mean, the tree we ordered is in the back yard sitting in a box! We haven't even put it in water yet, let alone attached a stand or thrown on some ornaments. What's more, my Thanksgiving decorations are still up, and I have the whole singles ward coming over for dessert next Sunday and dinner Monday! Tonight we have an activity, tomorrow night we have an activity, and Wednesday night we have an activity...none of which I can miss. On top of that, I don't feel well. But I digress.

My desire to spend time with good friends prevailed, so Dave and I went to the nearby church building to celebrate the Savior's birth with our family ward. After dinner, the primary put on a little program for us, and seeing them all dressed up in their robes and turbans and various animal ears touched me deeply, as did the familiar music they sang. The theme was "What did the Christmas star mean to you?", and our young people played various participants in the nativity expressing their feelings about the Christ Child. We heard from the shepherds, the wise men, the angels, and even Santa, but what really turned me around was Mary, played by a young woman I have known since her own infancy. Her wholesome loveliness and period clothing created an evocative, compelling representation of the mother of Jesus. She must have felt it too, for when she rose to recite the passages representing Mary's thoughts and feelings, our young friend was so overcome with emotion that she could scarcely speak. Her trembling voice, thick with unshed tears, brought her words to life, filling the room with the spirit of that first Christmas. Needless to say, I was more than glad to be there.

I was also a bit envious. I wanted to be as tuned into that spirit as she was, and I realized that I had been so busy managing Christmas...making it happen, so to speak...that I wasn't allowing time or place in my heart to actually feel it. Don't get me wrong. The things I am busy with are good things, important things, things that matter to the Savior...but I need to find and consecrate ample time to be still and reflect for myself upon the wonder and miracle of Christ's birth.

On the way to church yesterday, I inserted a Christmas CD and let Amy Grant sing to me. (Nobody does it better.) In the middle of the third carol, a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Silent Night, my dam of busy-ness broke. The strain of superficial things was swept away, and tears flowed freely. From a practical point of view, this was not ideal, as I was DWK (driving without kleenex). From a spiritual point of view, however, it was perfect. I had the "Mary" experience I was seeking, and I was able to welcome the season and all its sweetness into my soul. After that, the Christmas Eve story practically wrote itself. And I'll be sending the Christmas card poem out tomorrow. (Even the scripts for the programs are completed!)

On the down side, the tree is still in the yard and Thanksgiving is still in the house. (Hey, ya win some, ya lose some, right?)

;)

14 comments:

Momza said...

I can appreciate the feelings you've shared. Today is a day of complete rest for me. I made no plans, have no appointments and will make none beyond staying at home in the solitude of my own making. Listening to christmas music as it pleases me and letting my mind wander a bit to things unpractical and heavy on wishful. We all deserve time off from Life once in awhile. I hope you get at least, small moments this week to just "be".

Karen S. said...

So absolutely true, we just can't get all caught up in the ribbons and bows, but stop and take moments to appreciate and reflect. I too saw a Christmas play yesterday, and it's always in the eyes and hearts of little ones that I seem to find my way. We will get it all done, and in fact you say you haven't put away all your Thanksgiving decorations? Well I just put a new one up in a tree, that I found and haven't seen in years. It's a little scare crow man swinging in the center of a wreath (and he sits in the tree outside my kitchen window) just to please me! Yep, we have to stop and remember to take our fixes in life, just so we get it all done, and enjoy it!

Heaven said...

What a beautiful music ~ I agree that we lost sight of the real spirit of Christmas with all the shopping and parties ~ Time to sit back and reflect, and be grateful ~

Cheers ~

yaya said...

Time is flying by here also. I always feel the Spirit once I hear the Christmas broadcast from Salt Lake...Yep, it helped put me where I should be! I'm hosting the Bishop's Youth Discussion this coming Sunday and that's pushing me to get the tree up and finish decorating..of course the old stove is in my dining room waiting to be delivered to an apartment in town..hopefully I won't have to decorate it!

cj Schlottman said...

May God bless you and all of yours. I feel warm energy while reading this post.

Namaste............cj

Dixie Mom said...

Oh my dear. You are such a capable person, people ask you to do a lot. I hope you are feeling more caught up today. If I were there, I'd help you in some way. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and I don't have nearly as much as you going on!! Last night's First Presidency devotional really helped put it all in perspective for me. I hope you get your Christmas mojo soon!!!

Pondside said...

You'll be alright and all the preparations will be complete in time for all the celebrations. In the meantime, I hope you'll be kind to yourself - you've got a lot on your Christmas plate!

Brian Miller said...

i am glad you posted...i was starting to worry about you...smiles...i am glad you went so you could share just a bit of it with us...smiles...its a hard time of year...probably even more so one we have to re-center often...

def grateful...smiles.

good to see you.

Laraine Eddington said...

This was so sweet Sue. I hope we can all have these break through moments of clarity.

Stacy Crawford said...

I love those dam breaking ephianies. I'm glad you spirit is intune to the Spirit. There is no better feeling in the world!

Darlene said...

Dick came running in to see what happened to me. I was reading your blog and crying my heart out. Honestly Sue, I don't know how you have been able to do everything you have done, and I'm so glad that you went to your old ward's program. so that you really could get the feeling of Christmas in your heart and even though you were DWT I'm glad the tears came. I find that crying really makes me feel better, if you can understand that, and I'm sure you can. It just relieves some sort of pressure there that is really helful to me. You still have so much to do and I wish I could be there to help you. I have honestly felt a bit stronger every day, so probably I could have helped some. We could have at least put up your tree for you. I do know how much you decorate for every holiday, so taking down Thanksgiving had to be a major bit of work, to get everything packed and put away. You two are just too much. I'm sure Dave has tried to help you as much as he can.

The problem is, that I don't see anything letting up in the near future for you to ever get a little bit of physical relaxation. I'm just praying that your body will hang on and that you won't get sick when you must be so run down physically. There just has to be some way that you can do away with all that you do for the holidays. Of course, being your mother, it is natural for me to feel frustration when I read about all that you have been doing.

I echo Momza's hope that you get some small moments this week to just "be". That thought expresses mine perfectly, it was so well said.

Oh my gosh, this is getting so long, I'm wondering now if I should even post it.

After reading it, I did decide to post it. I stopped crying half way through, so I want you to know that I am okay. I know that you will always find a way to keep doing all that you do and Heavenly Father does bless you to be able to shoulder such burdens during the Christmas season. I am grateful for that, honestly.

I love you so much Sue, and I know that you are very much aware of that.

LeAnn said...

I totally know how you are feeling. I have been having similar thoughts. I need a Mary moment. We do get caught up in the business of the season and it just flies by and we haven't paused to really let that Christmas Spirit in. Thanks for the reminder today. I will be listening to Christmas music all day tomorrow.
Blessings and hugs!

Grandma Honey said...

You are so busy, and so much involved in the service of others, that I think your joy will come more after a lot of your tasks are complete. Having said that, I also hope you can cut out a little corner for yourself somewhere, so you don't wear yourself out.

Farmer's Wyfe said...

Thanks so much. I needed to have a Mary moment right now, too. :)

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