During a recent shopping trip, I overheard this conversation from this cute, young mom who was trying to keep her little toddler from knocking over displays, while she attempted to shush her fussy baby. I don't know who she was talking to on the phone, but I know she was sincere in her frustrations. A familiarity came over me as I recalled having little ones in the store who tested my patience and pushed my buttons. She noticed me and realized that I had heard her declaration of Scrooginess and that I had seen her snap at her little one. I tried to give her a reassuring smile, but I knew that she was embarrassed as she pushed her cart away from me.
As I thought about what she had said, I was embarrassed to admit to myself that my own thoughts about Christmas felt familiar to hers. It is so very easy to get caught up in all of the trappings and the pressures of the holiday season. It's human nature to rationalize and say, "I don't have time for service." Like a mold that slowly and silently grows underneath the surface, out of sight..our giving hearts become a little darker, a little more selfish, without us even realizing it. And then one year, the day before Thanksgiving, you find yourself dreading the day after Thanksgiving because you know it's coming. The stress of getting all the Christmas decorations out and dealing with lights that don't work and kids who's lists have become shorter but oh so much more expensive. Knowing that with all the Kindergarten parties and the church activities, work deadlines and the shopping, and baking and decorating...when are you going to have time to remember the reason for the season?? When am I going to have time to take my kids to the Homeless shelter? How can I buy gloves and coats and boots for the clothing drive when I don't have extra money to spare? How am I going to volunteer at the Hospital when I have to volunteer at the Church? How am I going to do everything I need to do to become like Jesus? And you find yourself saying, "I hate Christmas!" How did that happen?
And then you see a video like this and realize that that's not what it's about. You don't have to do all of those things. It is the simple, sincere gestures of service and love that bring us closer to the Savior and teach us how to be more like Him.
As I watched this video a feeling of peace and joy came over me and I instantly knew that I was going to make this Christmas special for my family in a way that had nothing to do with things. My favorite part of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is when the Grinch looks down on the Who's as they joyfully sing, hand in hand, despite not having any of their gifts. He cannot understand their joy as he questions,
"How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
I love the idea of it being through small and simple acts of service and giving, that we are encouraged to be like the Savior.
This initiative is for everyone! No matter what your beliefs are. It is a daily opportunity to love and to serve the people around us in the ways that the Savior did.
'In an increasingly dark world, we can be a bright light to those around us and a shining example of Christlike love.
"Opportunities to shine surround us each day. As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others, whether they be our own family members and friends, our co-workers, mere acquaintances, or total strangers." Thomas S. Monson
This holiday season, follow the Savior's example and look for ways to be a light to those around you. As you do so, the light you share will reflect back and brighten your own.'
Go to mormon.org/Christmas to get ideas of simple, very doable acts of service.
Each day we will be sharing some of the things we did to #LightTheWorld. Please comment and share with us how you shared your light.
May we focus less on the things that we can't do, and more on the things that we can.
And may your Christmas season be filled with love and light. (and good planning) :)
My name is Mindy. I love baseball, movies and useless trivia. I have 5 kids that I love and serve. My husband is top notch. I love serving in all the ways I can.