Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Christmas Spirit Leading Into the New Year

Every year we make the goal of de-commericalizing Christmas and focusing more on the Spirit of Christmas and the birth of Christ. And every year, we over-spend, over-commercialize and worry about our kids feeling 'jipped.' Sigh. This year we introduced Mr. Tibbs, an official Santa Scout, who not only kept a careful watch on each of us and our behavior, but also gave to me daily 'to-do's' to more fully take advantage of Christmas and what it means. More than anything, to me Christmas is about love. And the love I need to work on most is the love in my own home. It is so easy to be the nastiest version of ourselves around our family because we trust them to love us unconditionally and to be more forgiving than any of our friends and acquaintances. This year, I think we are on the right track and I realize it will take a few years of shifting that focus regarding Christmas to what it really is supposed to be: a reminder of hope, faith, giving, love and family and friends.

My toddler right now is in love with the movie "The Polar Express." Honestly, as much as I try to like that movie, it's just all around creepy to me - I never got the homeless dude on top of the train and his grody sock coffee, his eerie impersonation of Santa and the fact that the 'magic happy' train has all sorts of troubles and scary moments. The last ten minutes however is wonderful. When Santa sits down in the slay to give out the first gift of Christmas he says to the young boy, "This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas, as am I. Always remember that the true spirit of Christmas lies within your heart." Truer words were never spoken.

I had a conversation with my mother the other day about Santa and the fact that she staunchly protects Santa's true existence. It's pretty much an un-debateable debate with her. And in the end, I came to agree with her. Santa Claus is a symbol of the true spirit of Christmas. We aren't supposed to see him. I have never seen my savior in this life, but I know that He exists. I know that He knows personally the feeling in each tear I have shed for sadness and joy. He knows the physical pains I have felt and He knows me by name and loves me. I know this to be true. I have never seen Santa Claus, nor will I ever see Santa Claus. I will not always get what I want for Christmas, nor should I always get what I want in life. Life is not about having our way all the time or indulgence or even constant need. Life works out how it is supposed to - giving us the challenges we need to grow and progress within our own existences. My destiny is different from anybody else's. And do I believe in destiny? Well, I believe we have a specific path and the right choices keep us on it while the wrong ones lead us away. And there is greatness and joy at the end of each of our path's - it's totally up to us if and how we get there.

In the end, Santa Claus represents the true Spirit of Christmas in loving the children, bringing them gifts representative of the gift of the Savior. He reminds us of this most precious gift and the need to share and give to others and to offer our hearts and love unselfishly and without expectation of any return. This is one gift that we do not seek out a return on investment. It is truly a magical season to reconsider the direction our lives are going and to take every opportunity to help those around and share more love.

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