I mentioned last week how much I love Christmas. I can’t really remember when I started loving Christmas or recognized it was my favorite holiday. I think it’s always been that way.
Of course, kids love Christmas. And as a kid, I loved Christmas. The presents, the decorations, the dinners, the special treats to eat, and the debates with my father about why children should be allowed to open one present early and how leaving cookies and milk out for a myth was just wasteful are among my cherished memories.
OK, so the debates about Santa really took place when I was a teenager. They’re still cherished memories because of the life lessons I learned.
Now that I’m an adult, I think more about traditions. And the older I get, the more I hunger for real. You can’t get more real than with small acts that point towards Christ. These truly light the world. And they make the memories that matter most in the end.
Keep the good you’re given
Two traditions from my childhood Christmases involve my mother. As Christmas approached, we’d list all the things we wanted to eat. Then on Christmas Eve, we’d go get it.
Ordering more than we could eat in one setting was the whole point; it gave my mother a break from the kitchen for a few days. We’d all help prepare a huge Christmas morning breakfast, but thereafter we simply ate leftovers from our Christmas Eve feast.
The second tradition came when we opened presents on Christmas morning after everyone helped to clean up after breakfast. Mother would always be first to open a gift. My father insisted on both traditions every year to show respect to my mother. He made no secret of why.
After moving away from home, I kept these traditions as best I could. The memories are sweet and remind me of the respect for women my father taught me. They always remind me of how Christ always honored His mother.
Find the good you can give
Over the years, I’ve tried to develop other traditions pointing to the Savior. One year I decided to make loaves of bread and give them away. Making bread from scratch involves some work, but that was the point. Christ is the bread of life Who we should always work to remember.
I had this tradition only one year. The loaves I made took far more work than I imagined, and the end product was not that great. As it was, I appreciated the learning experience, and the intended result was realized.
And I didn’t stop looking for new traditions. The one I have now — my 40-day Sermon on the Mount study — seems especially suited towards my current situation in life as a single adult. I’ve described before the growth this study provides me. Were it not for that, I might have adopted a form of the Church’s current Light the World campaign into a yearly tradition. All in all, the traditions I have and might have had all point to Christ.
Through the years, my traditions have helped me make memories that matter precisely because they point to the Savior. By acting on His teachings, we can all make memories that matter.
My brother doesn’t always visit for the holidays, so I was glad he came this weekend. While here, he approached me about a dysfunctional but distinctively designed pocket watch our grandfather owned.
Given my interest in everything about her father, Mother had given the watch to me. I don’t have room to detail here the experiences that connect me to this man who died before I was born. But I don’t blame my mother for giving the watch to me.
However, my brother claimed Mother promised him the watch. I said he could have it, but he didn’t take it, saying things shouldn’t be more important than people.
Last night as he prepared to go, I noticed he still hadn’t taken the watch. I felt strongly impressed to slip it into one of his bags and did so without hesitation. I don’t know what will result, but reflecting on it has helped me feel closer to the Master Who taught others to give everything for righteousness.
We can all follow inspiration. As we do, we point others to the real reason for the season while making memories that matter. I don’t know of a better way to do that than by living the truths Christ taught. No matter our current situation in life, when we walk more decidedly the path of discipleship, we can’t help but have more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show 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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