I can't believe another year has come and gone and we will be celebrating Christmas this week and 2010 the following week. It seems time is just flying by and leaving me behind. More behind each day and with more behind each year. I remember last January I was going to get a lot more exercise, but there doesn't seem to be less of me now than there was then. I did lose two pounds this year and I thought that was great.
So I guess it's time to reevaluate ourselves and look for ways we can do better.
I attend a lot of activities and Christmas functions this time of year. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers held a Christmas lunch where they told stories and memories of Christmas in the past. Simple joys and pleasures were found in their Christmas memories. One of the most profound statements I have heard that has given me cause to stop and think was in one of the stories told by a DUP lady. She said at Christmas time, maybe people act more like God would like us to be all the time. More kind, more loving, more giving, more considerate, more helpful, etc. More of everything. Can we be more like God at all times of the year and not just at Christmas time?
What about in July when it's hot and we're tired and have been camping and we're dirty? Do we stop and think about the Christ Child being born in Bethlehem and what that means for us, not just at Christmas but each and every day of the year? Maybe it's best we celebrate in the winter when the white snow helps the earth to seem just a little more pure and clean. A little more untouched and unspotted as we await the day we commemorate the birth of the Christ Child.
I recently heard a talk which told of the Christmas symbols and what they mean. A wreath is to symbolize the eternities with no beginning and no end; the red of the holly berries symbolize the blood of Christ as he died for the sins of the world; the green of the evergreen tree to symbolize the new growth we experience each year when spring returns to the land; the candy cane to symbolize the shepherds staff and also a J for Jesus; the Christmas lights represent the light of Christ which shines in each of us; the gifts represent the gift of Jesus Christ to us from God on high.
It was good to hear again of these symbols and all they represent. Christmas is not just some pagan holiday with commercial trappings. It can be as meaningful and spiritual as each of us choose to make it.
However we choose to celebrate, what traditions we choose to include in our celebrations don't really matter, it's that we celebrate and we have a reason to celebrate; no matter what our circumstances we can choose to be happy and celebrate this season and celebrate each day knowing we have a God in Heaven who loves and cares for us no matter what.
I remember after I was married we spent our first Christmas in Salt Lake with my husband's family and the next year, we had a new baby and I just thought, I didn't want to travel on Christmas and we would stay home and start our own traditions. Each Christmas Eve as I was growing up we would have dinner and then make homemade ice cream. I thought this was a fun thing to continue in my own home, so every Christmas Eve since then and there's been 32 of them now we make homemade ice cream. Then we attend my mom's Catholic Church midnight mass which usually isn't at midnight which is good. It's held at the Mission San Rafael and this year it's at 9 p.m. It just wouldn't be Christmas without attending mass. I started making lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner. My family loves lasagna.
Years ago my sister-in-law and I started attending the birthday lunch for my husband's grandma. Her daughter would host a wonderful luncheon for this special grandma. She has been gone for several years, now, but our tradition has gone on that each year we go to Salt Lake and shop and then have dinner together. This gathering has grown now to include the whole family when it used to just be for the ladies. But, each year we look forward to getting together to see each other one more time as the year closes and a new one begins.
I love beginning a new year. It seems so fresh and new. I am always a little sad as Christmas ends each year and when the new year starts then my husband always tells me guess what, you get to have Christmas this year. So we will have Christmas again, Thanksgiving, birthdays, campouts, Mother's Day, Father's Day, the Valentine Carnival, baseball games, football games, basketball games, dinners, BBQs, Miss Emery, the fair, the rodeo, fishing, hunting trips; everything that makes up a year in my life and yours too. I hope we can appreciate each moment we have and enjoy those moments with those we love. I hope in 2010 we make some new friends to share those moments with. I hope we smile at people more, I hope we can be kinder and spread Christmas cheer all year long.