Tonight, a blizzard rages outside my window. I successfully started a fire in our surprisingly complicated fireplace, and earlier today I enjoyed a cup of hazelnut hot chocolate.
Oh, yes, my friends. It is winter. It is Christmastime.
This time of year always leaves me with a sense of awe. Wonder. Excitement. No matter how old I get, I never fail to get swept up in the magic of the Christmas season.
Though this year, I was a little worried.
I’ve been working so much this year that Christmas spirit was hard to find at first. When this time of year is when we celebrate peace and goodwill, it was hard to deal with angry customers who were unwilling to pay for a decent gift. As much as I hate to admit it, there have been too many occasions where I simply couldn’t make “Merry Christmas” come out very sincerely.
Is this truly how the world celebrates Christmas? Is this really it? I couldn’t stop these thoughts and many others just like them. What happened to joy, peace, triumph, and anthems of praise? I just couldn’t understand where the lack of it was coming from.
So what changed?
Tonight I sit in my home surrounded by Christmas lights and a crackling fire and I’m so excited for Christmas Day that it feels like my heart will burst open.
Everything changed on Saturday, when in a very frustrating moment when I was feeling hurt and rushed, a heavy, peaceful feeling came pouring over me like a tidal wave. And when this wave had passed my heart felt as though it would break with joy. And very distinctly I heard something say to me, “How much can you GIVE today?”
A little bit of remembering, my friends, and it all came back. Christmas is when we give. When we learn what it means to give. Remember that a loving Father in Heaven gave His Son, because He loves us. Remember that as you purchase your gifts and think of the joy you’ll bring to others with them, you are getting to participate in such a sacred moment.
To be able to give is a very special gift.
It means that you get the opportunity to show love. To give joy. You get the chance to put joy in a box and give to to another person. You get to give joy to your world.
A long time ago, I decided that I would measure my success in life based upon my response to the following question:
How much have you loved?
And if I could answer this question honestly, that I had completely and totally poured out all the love in my heart into whatever I was doing, then I was a success. As I apply this to the Christmas season, it brings everything into a very special focus. In just four days I get to give presents that I’ve spent months thinking about, preparing, and getting ready. I get to watch my family members open them, see the delight on their faces, and hope they feel of my love.
So with my whole heart, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.