This time of year is so magical. The sights, smells, lights, presents, family parties, Santa, wrapping paper and all the things that go along with the Christmas season are around us at every turn. It is so easy to get caught up in the worldly celebration of the word, Christmas. It's so easy to get caught up in giving and receiving gifts, eating yummy food and going to family parties. But, what is not always easy about this time of year, is actually taking a step back and recognizing why it is that we celebrate Christmas.
"To catch the real meaning of the 'spirit of Christmas' we need only drop the last syllable and it becomes 'The spirit of Christ'"
Thomas S. Monson
Anyone that truly knows me, knows I can be a bawl baby when it comes to the Gospel. I have to pray really hard before I give a talk so that I don't cry through the whole thing. But, truly thinking of the Savior, "being born in a lowly stable because there was no room for him in the inn", brings tears to my eyes. The Son of God, who would be the perfect example, live a perfect life and ultimately die for each one of us so that we could repent of our sins and return to our Heavenly home, was born in a stable. Honestly, what more humble circumstances could someone be born into?
Humility: To make meek and teachable, or the condition of being meek and teachable. Humility includes recognizing our dependence upon God and desiring to submit to his will.
Christ was and always has been the perfect example of humility. As we learn in the scriptures, Christ, in the spirit world, from the very beginning, wanted to submit to Gods will and do all that his father asked of him. Every step Christ took, every word he spoke, every thing he did was to accomplish the thing that God had sent him here to do, and he did it perfectly.
In thinking about Christmas, humility and the Savior it has caused me to reflect on my own life. I like to ask myself some questions, and you can ask them to yourself as well. Am I striving each day to submit my life and will over to God? What, if anything is holding me back from fully submitting to the will of God? What can I begin to do in my own life to change and submit more fully to the will of God? What does God see in me and want me to become, and can I see that potential in myself? Do I believe in myself?
We are not here to impress our family and friends. We are not here to prove something to those around us. But as D. Todd Christofferson has said, "Just as Jesus, we came down from Heaven to do the will of him that sent us." We are literally sent here to do the will of God, to prove to Him that we love him and his son. That, is all that matters. There will be critics all along the path of life, people that don't want to listen to what you have to say, or that criticize the way you do things or the way you live your life. They may even criticize your personality and the person that you are, but it's mostly because they don't understand. They truly don't care to get the know the real you.
Remember, that Christ was criticized and hated by men, because they did not understand. Even while on the cross, Christ said: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." The point is, don't stop being you! Don't let the critics along the path cause you to call out defeat. Christ never allowed what others thought of him to cause him to not follow through with the will of the Father. Remember that what God our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ think of us is what matters.
I love my Savior so much. I am so grateful he was born thousands of years ago. He has done so much for me, that I can never repay him back. The only gift I can give back is to use my agency for good. To stand back up when I fall. To serve those around me, to love those around me and to be grateful for all that I've been given. To utilize my gifts and talents for the building up of the kingdom of God on earth. And hope that all my efforts, failures, strengths, weaknesses and utilizing of the atonement can bring me to the moment where I stand in front of my Heavenly Father and Savior and can say that I did all that I could. And to hear, "Well done."