The answer is a resounding yes! The true magic of Christmas is the joy and peace that comes from Christ. Every day we experience Christ, we rekindle the magic of Christmas with the warmth of His joy and peace. If we do that every day, we can experience Christmas all year long.
Change your thinking
As with many other difficulties in life, experiencing Christmas beyond the Christmas season has root in how we think. If we think about Christmas only as a time of year, then it’s only natural we feel the magic of Christmas when that time of year rolls around and don’t feel it when that time departs.
But change your thinking, and you change your life. So what if we thought about Christmas not just as a time of year but a state of being? We’ve talked recently here about joy and reaching after the state of joy rather than the feeling of happiness. Feelings and emotions are transitory, temporary phenomena; they come and go like the weather. But states are definitions of existence; they’re more permanent and therefore more satisfying to the soul.
If we thought about Christmas as a state of being, then Christmas wouldn’t be just something we do but something we become. We can then experience the magic of Christmas all year because we will have become the magic of Christmas.
Change your traditions
Our Christmas traditions can further obstruct us from experiencing Christmas all year long. By tying our traditions to time, we also tie our experiences from those traditions to time. This is the thinking we’ve just discussed. But even if we transform annual traditions into daily rituals, we’ll still not feel the magic of Christmas every day if those traditions don’t point us to Christ.
Two weeks ago, we talked about the need to simplify our Christmas traditions so we can more clearly see the Savior and feel His love. Experiencing the joy and peace of Christ is truly experiencing Christmas. So naturally experiencing Christmas all year long means embracing simple traditions that focus us on Christ and His joy and peace.
By traditions, I mean daily rituals. Certainly daily rituals of prayer and scripture study can help us focus on Christ and His joy and peace. So can quiet moments of reflection and meditation. Embracing such moments aligns us with the voice of heaven, making it more possible to experience Christ’s joy and peace.
Such moments can prepare us for prayer or help us better hear the still, small voice of the Spirit following prayer or during scripture study. They can also help at the end of the day. Taking a moment to reflect and meditate upon Christ and his joy and peace can calm the mind and body, allowing us to sleep better.
Change your today
Other regular rituals can help. While most of us won’t travel to the temple daily, regular temple attendance can help us to feel the joy and peace of Christ all year long. I know the peace I feel inside the temple is deeper and more profound than I’ve felt anywhere else.
What other rituals can help you experience the joy and peace of Christ all year long? And which ones will you adopt? Whatever you do, dedicate a time and place to dedicating yourself to experiencing Christ through His joy and peace. Then keep that sacred appointment with exactness. You get what you give, so when you give everything to Christ, you get everything good you need in return.
The true magic of Christmas is the joy and peace that comes from Christ. So become the spirit of Christmas. By regularly returning to rituals that help you to feel Christ’s love, joy, and peace more powerfully, you can experience the magic of Christmas all year long. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
But it doesn’t end there. Instead of changing their focus to what they have and can do, which will then change their reality to one of abundance and opportunity, many LDS singles pine for that perfect companion who will rescue them from their banal singles existence. And that perfect companion is just that — perfect.
Just like Santa, that ideal conception doesn’t really exist. The only man who comes down the chimney is already off the market anyway. Real men and women have imperfections, so forget the chimney. Only when you focus on the Savior and the truths He taught can you embrace the true spirit of the season.
For many singles, Christmas is an especially painful time. But what’s even more painful is the realization that they inflict that pain upon themselves with the way they think.
The results we all want in our lives come from action and only from action. But we act based on our perceptions, beliefs, and assumptions about ourselves and the world around us. If you can change how you think, you can change what you do, and that changes the results you have in life.
So if you want to feel more of the joy and peace that should characterize your Christmas season, exchange thinking about your own misery with thinking about the misery of others. Christ taught, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).
When you surrender yourself to that truth, “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) — but free in what way? You’re free to amend your errors, to change your ways, to embrace more effective ways of thinking so you can experience a more effective way of living.
I once resisted service as a balm for the woes of singles life, partly because others often threw it at me indiscriminately, and partly because I didn’t see how it solved my singleness “problem.” I’d been serving in many ways for years and still just as single as when I came home from my mission. Service just seemed like a band-aid, temporarily treating the pain of singles life while covering over the real underlying problem.
Now I understand that service is a band-aid for singles when they serve with agenda. When I served, I always had an agenda. Sometimes is was about being dutiful so I could feel good about myself. Sometimes it was about identifying myself with the larger group so I could feel I belonged. Sometimes it was about crafting an image I thought would help me attract the companion I longed to have.
But true service follows the example of the Savior Who always acted against the agenda of the natural man. His agenda wasn’t about Him but simply on giving to others for their benefit. When you forget your own agendas and act solely out of concern for those who receive your offerings, you can lose yourself in their service.
And that’s when you find yourself, because that’s when the peace and joy the Christmas season offers can come to you. Those who cling to their own agenda, even while doing the right thing, will never feel more than glimpses of that joy and peace.
As I said during the program last week, Christmas isn’t just a time to remember Christ but a time to experience Christ. As we simplify our traditions to create the time and space to feel the joy and peace of Christ, may we also simply our desires by stripping ourselves of our own agendas and adopting the agenda of the Savior.
What service can you give this Christmas season? What light can you shine? What difference can you make? When you lose yourself in service by losing the agenda centered around your needs, you free yourself to experience Christmas as you never have before. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Then I thought that I should consider what I personally will take from the devotional and use that action to signal me towards the speaker and the message I should use for the program today. And that approach led me to Elder Patrick Kearon. In his remarks entitled “Bringing Christmas Into Focus,” Elder Kearon described an increased focus on the Savior gained from simplifying the season. If we truly desire to celebrate the real reason for the season, then we need to keep that Reason in our focus. And we can do that more easily when we simplify the season.
Examine your traditions
Like other holidays involving family gatherings, Christmas carries with it many traditions. These traditions can bind us closer to family members and create wonderful memories of the holiday season that will give joy long after their creation.
Yet, as Elder Kearon rightly points out, those traditions can bring added stress from the sheer quantity of tasks to accomplish that we can lose our focus on the reasons for our celebrations. We can become so absorbed in the logistics surrounding our celebrations that we forget the foundation for those celebrations.
Remembering that foundation usually comes in still, quiet moments of reflection. Elder Kearon spoke of his enjoyment of staring at Christmas tree lights and how they remind him of the Light of the world.
Refine your traditions
As I pondered Elder Kearon’s questions, I saw great wisdom behind them. I could see that, especially in the last few years, my own focus during Christmas time has been obscured by adopting the tradition of buying gifts for each member of the family, including the extended family with in-laws, nieces, and nephews.
This didn’t happen all at once. But it crept upon me so slowly I hardly know when it began. We give gifts to remind us of the gift God has given all of us in His Only Begotten. Yet I could see how my approach to that tradition — buying a separate gift for each individual — had created unneeded effort and expense that distracts my focus away from God’s gift of His Son.
It wasn’t always that way. In my younger days, I needed to obtain only four gifts — one for each parent and one for each sibling. But as life unfolded and extended families appeared and grew, that number has multiplied. Now, looking at the added expense as a college student, I think Elder Kearon’s questions are more than appropriate; they are essential for feeling the joy and peace that should attend the Christmas season.
Resolve to simplify
In response, I have determined to simply my gift giving. Instead of a separate present for each individual, I will once more give four gifts: one for each parent and one for the family of each sibling.
And I determined to gift something I had never before gifted — treats and time. By gifting a box of snacks, I provide my extended families with an excuse to spend time together as they gather to partake and share the goodies I gifted. Thus, the real gift was the chance to make treasured holiday memories.
The best part for me was how simple it all was. One visit to Amazon and I had everything purchased with instructions on where to ship everything. It was all done in a matter or minutes, and I felt looking back a peace that comes from making the right choice.
How will you simplify your Christmas season so that you can focus more on the Savior? Will you do as I did and adjust your gift giving? Perhaps you will take Elder Kearon’s suggestion to embrace temple service that “corrects our focus, magnifies our joy, and unites families here and on the other side of the veil.” Or maybe the Spirit has inspired you along a different direction.
Whatever your situation, take action to simplify the season this Christmastime. When you do, you can focus more on Christ and feel more clearly His peace. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Yes, the improvements are impressive. But what impresses me most is that the Church has made its improvements in the short space of three years. I suppose they have some folks employed full time and devoted to the project, because otherwise so much improvement in so short a space of time is rather miraculous.
But I suspect that the real miracles are the ones that participants in the Light the World initiative this year will perform. They may not seem like miracles to those who perform them, but they very well could be miracles for those who receive them.
And we each have that power for good. So if you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with the details of the latest Light the World initiative, take a moment to do so. And to help you get into the spirit of the season, Joy in the Journey Radio will be replacing the normal talk segments after this monologue with extra music.
So let the music inspire you as you take a moment to reflect upon how you will light the world once more this Christmas season. When you share your light with others, you find light in your own life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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