Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Tis the Season

Now that December is here, snow has finally decided to fall on the ground.  All the students here on campus are busily preparing for the stress of Finals Week, and the following joy of Christmas break.  This time of year always brings a lot of excitement, stress, and hurry into seemingly everyone's lives.

But at the same time, the Christmas season also brings a feeling of peace, and reverence, of closeness with family and loved ones.

President Thomas S. Monson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said in December 1998, "This is a glorious time of the year, simple in origin, deep in meaning, beautiful in tradition and custom, rich in memories, and charitable in spirit. It has an attraction to which our hearts are readily drawn. This joyful season brings to each of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree in which we have turned our mind, feelings, and actions to the spirit of Christmas."

I've been thinking a lot this season about what Christmas truly means.  I think that everyone starts to think, at least a little bit, about what lies beneath the hustle and bustle, the rush to get the right gifts, about what the true "reason for the season" is.  As I've done so, I've come to a much better understanding of what it means to give.  Sure, it is a lot of fun to give or receive toys, or games, or clothes, or whatever it might be.  Far more meaningful, however, is the gift of ourselves.  This may be given in the form of time spent together, kind words spoken, love or gratitude expressed, and many other forms.  I look back over the many years, and in all honesty, I remember very few of the gifts that I received wrapped in paper.  But I will never forget the times that my family spent with me, the fun memories we share, and the love that is always present this time of year.

Dr. Seuss, in his classic Christmas story, tells of the Grinch who hated Christmas.  The Grinch did everything he could to stop Christmas, but even after he had stolen the gifts and trees and decorations, the Whos down in Whoville still celebrated Christmas.  The story follows:

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"
To me, that little bit more is the love that we feel for those near to us, and most assuredly our love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  What things can you do this year, to show that love, to truly give of yourself?

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