Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Blessings

I feel a deep desire to give thanks this Christmas Day. My heart has been so full of love and joy this past week. I have so much to be thankful for.

As we celebrated our Christmas festivities last night and today, I felt so glad to be surrounded by so many people I love and that love my family. All of the activities leading up to Christmas cause me stress at times, and there has been plenty of that this year. But as I reflect now on the activities of the past month, it would be hard for me to choose to eliminate any of them. Each of them allows me to connect with friends, neighbors, family, coworkers and other loved ones and I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life and in the lives of my husband and children.

I am thankful for Christmas stories. I've been reading Christmas stories to my children each night. I've also read a few on my own. They are fun and many help refocus my mind on the true reason for the season. I have felt my testimony strengthened as I've read and reread of the Savior's birth. I have been studying the New Testament for the past few weeks and I am so grateful for the Savior's birth, life and teachings. I have felt His love more this Christmas season than perhaps at any other Christmas season.

I am thankful for our abundance. We have sufficient food, clothing, shelter, plus much more. Because we have been so richly blessed, we were able to do a few things to help others this year. Today those who may be spending this day alone or far from home or who may be in dire circumstances or who may be grieving for a loved one have been on my mind. So many people face such difficult challenges, and my heart goes out to them and my prayers have lifted up to our Father for them to be comforted.

I am thankful for Christmas songs. I love Christmas music. I love the spirit they bring. Some of my favorites include Mary, Did You Know, Breath of Heaven, O Holy Night, Reason for the Season, and Carol of the Bells. But there are many other songs that I love as well.

I am thankful for my husband and children. I was listening to Breath of Heaven earlier, and was struck by these words:
"Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now"

What a tremendous blessing and responsibility it was for Mary to be the mother of the Son of God! And what a tremendous blessing and responsibility it is for me to be a mother to my children. They are not the Savior, but they are still children of God and He loves them. He has entrusted them to me. What a great responsibility that is! I am trying hard to be a good mother, to teach them, to pray with them, to play with them, to comfort them. I am grateful that I know that I do not walk the path alone, that my Father and Savior are there with me to help me. They are turning into 3 beautiful young girls. I can't believe how big they are or how beautiful they are becoming, inside and out.

I feel grateful for Christmas decorations. For our Christmas tree, our lights, our candles, our wreath, and other decorations. My house feels more beautiful to me at Christmas than any other time of year. And tonight as I looked at the lights in our window, it caused me to reflect on the Light of the World, our Savior Jesus Christ. There is plenty of darkness in this world, plenty of sadness and strife. Yet there is so much beauty and goodness as well. And no matter what happens in the world, if we turn to our Savior, He will lighten our load, help us bear our burdens and guide us. I am so grateful for His birth...and even more for His life, His death and His resurrection. I have felt His love for me.

Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Alma 7:10-12 "And behold, he shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which sanity he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

I am so blessed!