I feel sad that this year I admit freely that I have little or no Christmas spirit in me. It’s not that I don’t believe in and celebrate the birth of Jesus, but rather that I live in a cold, commercial and abrasive town known as New York City that sometimes acts as a barrier to my ability to be kind, loving, thoughtful and more Christlike.
Usually my heart is beaming with Christmas joy, holiday music and a sense of charity towards others, but this year something was missing. I didn’t attend any holiday parties, serve the homeless or foster youth or go caroling; I felt no need to be filled with love and share that love with others. I usually pride myself on presenting my church’s congregation with a Christmas song medley masterpiece that I mulled over since September, not this year; I just didn’t have it in me.
Other than being a resident of New York City, I can’t help to wonder what else has contributed to this down-trodden spirit of mine. I see commercials on television and YouTube clips that friends share on Facebook of others sharing the magic and love of Christmastime with their loved ones or those in need and though I may be touched for a moment, there hasn’t being that deep impact I look forward to each year. This is the time of year I look forward to when I feel like despite all that is wrong in my life or in the world, everything will be okay. It’s when I recognize that Christ was born on Earth long ago, He came to help mankind and He did through His awesome and everlasting Atonement. That’s the good news and the joy of the gospel that I know to be true and that I feel within me; He came, He lived, He taught, He led the way, He died for us and now He lives again!
So why can’t I allow even these thoughts I am writing permeate my cold heart and make it grow three sizes in one day like the Grinch when he sees Christmas come anyway despite his trying to destroy it? I am sure the answer is to ask for God’s love and feel the Christmas spirit, to help others feel it through acts of service and to find ways to surround myself with uplifting situations that spark within me the feelings of charity, peace, joy and love. I suppose this problem isn’t necessarily related to or isolated to Christmas either; maybe it’s time to find time each day to allow God to take control and priority in my life and not my own selfish desires.
Every Christmastime I think of the gifts that were bestowed to the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Faith, love and devotion were given by the shepherds; gold, frankincense and myrrh given by the wise men. The gifts of the wise men were not given as mere tokens, but as support to the family who were escaping the wicked king. They would need these gifts to buy to food, supplies, transportation and to buy passageway into Egypt. These seem small gifts compared to the mighty gift that Jesus would someday give to the world, but they were necessary for their physical survival, just as the Atonement is necessary for our spiritual survival.
Around this time I wonder what gift I could give to Christ for His love and many, great sacrifices. Of course, no gift that I can give will measure up to the eternal measure of the Atonement. All I can truly give the Savior is my heart, my faith, love and devotion as the shepherds did. I feel that the greatest gift I can give to the Lord is to allow Him into my heart and let Him lead me. In Job 23:10 it reads, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” As I allow Him to test and try me, He refines me into a worthy gift for the kingdom; I come forth refined as gold; a gift fit for a King.
I may have not found a way to melt my heart completely this year, but it helps that I am around family and that I know I have friends and family around the world who love me, even if I am Grinch. My Christmas wish is to allow the gifts of our King into my heart and as it permeates, I may return that gift to Him in the form of my faith, love and devotion. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
You have been caught Jey Walking!