What you really need at Christmas

This Christmas, I’m posting my best gift, early:


Yes, it’s merely a picture of my husband shoveling the snow this morning. Two days ago he came home from working on the other side of the country. We haven’t seen him since he drove away last summer. (No, I didn’t chase him away. He willingly came back for the holidays, see?)

Over the past six months I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for single parents and the stresses they deal with all by themselves. It seems that each month I had a new little crisis I had to deal with, without another parent to pick up my slack.

But not this week. My sweet hubby got out of bed, looked out the window, and willingly headed out. That means I don’t have to guilt and nag my sons into doing it—Merry Christmas to me!

As he shoveled, I read online about a family whose healthy, college-aged daughter just died unexpectedly in her sleep. About a young husband whose wife and unborn baby recently died in a car accident. About a military family which is facing Christmas without their husband and dad at home, again.

And here I was, taking pictures of my hubby shoveling.

At Christmas we don’t need as much as we think we do. If you’ve got most of, or even all, of your family around you, that’s huge. This year we’ll see everyone except one, but we’ll be able to skype him Christmas afternoon.

But if you don’t have all of your family with you this year, and may never have them again in this lifetime, you most especially need Christmas.

Or, more specifically, He who’s birth we’re trying to celebrate in the middle of the over-scheduled chaos: the Savior.

Bring to Him your heartache. Bring to Him your longing. Bring to Him your anger, and He will give to you the greatest gift that you truly need: Peace of Mind.

Image result for lds jesus

Thank you all for a wonderful year, and may you find and feel that peace that the Savior brings–that lasting peace which tells you that while your life may make no sense right now, it will in the end. Just hold on, believe in Him, and no matter your circumstances, every Christmas will somehow be merry.

In a way, Mahrree felt almost cheated, almost dismayed, for feeling such dejection in the world, and had she only known how swiftly all that loneliness and longing would be swept away—

No, she did know. A small part of her had always known that whatever misery she was enduring would be seem but a small moment in retrospect. The Writings had said so, but it was as if her physical brain couldn’t fathom what her spiritual mind already knew. No wonder her feelings were often in so much conflict.

But now, with the limitations of her mortal mind lifted, suddenly everything was easier. She could remember the sadness, but marvelously she no longer felt it. She held the memories, but none of the pain.

No wonder they called it Paradise.

(Teaser from future book 8; don’t worry, book 6 is coming, very soon. And so will be books 7 and 8!)

Christmas–it’s not what you may think it is.

Despite the many “feel-good”—and “feel-crappy”—movies and TV shows out there with a holiday theme, Christmas is not about families (or anti-depressant medication).

Despite the numerous sightings in stores and malls, Christmas is not about Santa, or even children, as noble and sweet as that sentiment sounds.

Despite the Obamas’ introduction to the 50th airing of Charlie Brown Christmas special (one of the very few shows that blatantly states what Christmas is about), Christmas is not about “tiny trees” that “need a little love.”

It’s also not about getting the best deal-of-the-year on TVs, cars, movie tie-ins, clothes, furniture, or bacon flavored anything.

It’s not even entirely about a tiny baby born in Bethlehem, although that’s the start.


(Four years ago my ninth–and last–baby was born. I staged this photo of him with #7 and #8 children. This became our Christmas card that year, my favorite one so far.)

Christmas is about Christ, about his inauspicious birth in a cave, about his utterly selfless life and example which culminated in his laying down his life for his friends—us—and then his astonishing resurrection three days later.  Luke 2:6–7, The holy family

Christmas—along with Easter—is a reminder that death is temporary, and that life can be eternal.

It’s a reminder that our big brother Jesus Christ understands our pain, our struggles, and our despondency because he also experienced it all so that he would know how to comfort us. John 20:3–18, Mary hears Christ while looking for Him at the tomb

It’s a reminder that he took upon us all of our sins, and that if we do our part and repent, he can do so much more for us; he can take away our sin and leave us clean and new and whole again. Mentally, spiritually, and physically.

It’s a reminder that we can be renewed, and that every person who ever walked the earth will one day be resurrected with a glorified, perfected body, and that all pain will be taken away and replaced with such joy that we mere mortals can never imagine.

It’s about granting us the ultimate desire people have dreamed of since the dawn of time: immortality.

John 20:3–18, Mary Magdalene speaks with the resurrected Christ

Talk about the greatest gift in the world!
Christmas . . . it’s all about Christ.

(Thank you, lds.org, for the photos.)