I love Christmas.
Christmas is all the beauty and joy and anticipation and love and goodness of life, wrapped into one gorgeous, month-long package.
Except, of course, when it's not.
Because we're imperfect beings, so we let it turn into chaos and stress and feeling grumpy in long lines and spending more money than we have and rushing to a million different activities and having the perfect Instagram shot of our perfectly decorated tree and lots of noise and lots of expectations and...bah humbug!
Wow. Did you hunch your shoulder defensively and furrow your brow and sigh deeply? Does this sound like someone you know? Does it sound like you?
Sometimes it sounds like me.
President Thomas S. Monson states, "Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and scurrying to get more done. We find the real joy of Christmas when we make the Savior the real focus of the season."
Sometimes I need a reminder to slow down and just be.
Find that quiet place inside of you and let all the Grinchness melt away. Picture a clear, breezy night. . .the stars are shining brightly. Breathe in deeply. There is a hush in the air; let it seep into your bones. Everything is still, still, still. . . .
Picture a stable. Picture a new mother, exhausted but radiant and her humble, awed husband, hovering nearby.
Then, imagine a sweet, new baby, perfect in every detail.
Can you keep from smiling? Can you help but feel the Spirit whisper peace and hope and glad tidings of great joy to your soul?
This is Christmas.
And it is a gift, the loveliest gift ever given.
We decorate our homes to remind us of all the beauty our Heavenly Father gave us. We put up lights to remind us of our Savior who is the light of the world. We can't help but sing songs of praise as did the heavenly hosts who proclaimed the birth long ago to shepherds on the hill. We give gifts to help us remember the wise men who honored Jesus, and even more importantly, to help us remember His great gift of sacrifice and love.
We speak sweeter and smile more. We reach out to those who are lonely and have less. We serve. We think of our loved ones. We do all these things, because our great Exemplar did them first.
I love Christmas, because I love Christ.
He is my friend and my Redeemer. He is my guide through this crazy world. He is the Prince of Peace.
He is all the beauty and joy and anticipation and love and goodness of life, wrapped into one sweet bundle of swaddling clothes on a night over 2,000 years ago. He lives now and His gift is eternal.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has put together a lovely video and website to help us discover, embrace, and share the true gift of Christmas. You can go to mormon.org/christmas to see the video and learn more.