Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Gift

As promised, Grandmothers, pictures of the children with Santa.
I wonder what these pictures would look like as a flip book, with each child getting progressively bigger.

Santa is an exciting figure in children's lives. He represents wishes granted and all that is magical about Christmas.

And while the other kids were super thrilled to visit with the big Elf, I had to threaten Kate and Julia with coal in their stockings to get them to sit with Santa.

I mean, who doesn't want to sit on Santa's lap? Only certain social norms kept me from taking my turn on the big guys lap.

Psst! Santa! I want a Mint Cleaner or a new ipod to replace the one that got dropped in the mud.

And a first ever for our family, no one cried this year. Yay!

(and then after the pictures, keep reading for my Christmas Challenge)

Ok, now that grandchildren have been given their proper spotlight for grandparents to delight over them in, on to my challenge.

First. Normally this blog is just a carefree look into our family's life. There is no agenda to it. Just me showcasing the people and things I love most.

But I am a very religious person. I am. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, the Mormons. And for me, this time of year is about so much more than just the gifts we give and receive.

About 2 thousand years ago, the most amazing of events happened.
Christ, our Lord and Savior, was born to the earth. Sent to the most humble of circumstances, but born a king, and destined to save the world.

33 years after His birth, the most important event the world has ever known occured. Christ was crucified. He suffered in Gethsemane, and died on the cross so that the rest of us could return to live with our Father in Heaven.

This was truly the greatest gift ever given. To have someone love us so much that He willingly laid down His own life so that we could repent, be forgiven, and benefit from His grace, so that we could live with Him again. Nothing comes close to that.

And I wouldn't think that anything I could do would ever repay Him for this, the greatest of gifts.

Yet, I can live a good life, I can keep the commandments and show through my actions the love I have for my Savior and my Heavenly Father. And I can give Him the one and only gift that I have that is fit for a King.

My will.

We all have it. Free will. Free choice. Agency. Whatever you want to call it. It is ours to keep or give as we see fit.

And since I am 100% sure that He would accept the gift with love, and not take it for granted, it makes me want to offer it that much more.

So as I work on my Christmas list, the presents, the food, the decorations, I have in mind something special for the Savior. It is His birthday after all. And while we give gifts in celebration of His birth, I think that so often, I forget to give Him anything.

So while I could keep my will wrapped up tightly, concerned only with what I want, this year I am considering what He would want from me. And that will be my gift to Him.

I know what it will be, and while it feels too personal to share what my gift will be on this blog, I still want to issue the challenge to all of you. Search inside your heart, pray and ponder about what you could give the Savior.

It seems a big task considering He gave all He had to us. But I have faith that we each know what the best gift from us, personally, would be.

Are we so wrapped up in our own world that we forget our neighbor, or friend or family member who is in need?

Do we react in anger to our children when a gentle response is really what is required?

Do we place blame on others for the lives we have, unwilling to forgive those who have hurt us?

Do we spend more time on our outside appearance than we do on the inside of us?

Do we take our spouse for granted?

I see myself in all of these things. And I want to give more than that.

So for the entire month of December, I will be giving a daily gift to Jesus. I will be turning over to Him, a struggle that I am afflicted with, and let Him help me change this less than attractive characteristic, into something more glorious, happy, and Christlike.

It really hardly feels like a gift when I will be getting so much in return. But that is the beauty of the relationship we can have with our Savior. Give Him your trials, your struggles, your flaws, and He will gladly take them and turn them into something shiny and beautiful. A completely new you all for the cost of a handful of the worst in you.

Because ultimately, the greatest gift we give back is to let ourselves be perfected through him.

So the challenge:

Find something within you that you know you need to change, something you need to give up, something you need to add to your life.
And every day of December, work towards that.
Don't just let it sit in the back of your mind as something you know you should fix or start doing, but really and truly, proactively work on it everyday.
And by the end of December, who knows? There could be a brand new you.

Give it over to the Savior, let Him take it, fix it, and give it back to you as something beautiful and amazing.

And then, when December is over, I will post again, to talk about the changes that have occured for me personally, and invite you to do the same.

Why? Because I love you. I do, I do.

And to read it put much better than I could ever write or say it, go here.

Now I'm off to begin my 1 month journey to a better me. Won't you join me?


  1. You are one of the gifts our Heavenly Father gave to your Dad and me. We thought we were teaching you when you were a child but perhaps you have always been teaching us.
    Thank you for the Santa pictures, the challenge, and the link to Pres. Eyring's article. All beautiful. We love you.

  2. WOW!!! I have lots of things in mind. I will do my very best and see you at the end of the month!

    Merry Christmas to you, my friend. I love you, too!


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