Celebrating Christ's arrival to our world has become my focus this season. In year's past, I *hated* the holiday season. I mean I really *hated* it -- not because of the reason for the season, but because of what I suffered as a result of family *requirements*. As a child, I loved Christmas. I loved the whole fall-winter experience, celebrating Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. It was the best part of the year for me (well, perhaps summer vacation was the BEST!) I always loved everything about the season, and I have some wonderfully fond memories of doing things such as shopping with my Mom, my friends, and then gift-wrapping packages for my entire family. It was sweet and always wonderfully warm and special.
After I married, though, I found that my life became incredibly complicated. Instead of my normal holiday experience, I found myself stretched between two families who wanted "me" to be a part of their celebrations. I never had the opportunity to create my own traditions because I was caught between two dominant traditions that seemed unable to bend to allow a new family to create their own way. It was frustrating for me, and over the years, the constant battle turned into a passionate dislike of all things "Christmas."
Now that I am on my own, I am looking forward to enjoying the holiday and making it once again the special experience I recall from my childhood. Although I am an adult now, I am able more fully to enjoy the blessedness of my Savior's coming, knowing that the reason I celebrate Christmas is because of Him alone. God has richly blessed my life, and I have so much to be thankful for today. I am whole, I am happy, and I am free to live the life God has called me to live. I do so now out of response to His great LOVE for me, and for His Will, which gives me a place to call home (eternal and physical). I am so deeply in love with my Savior, and I am so in cooperation with His Holy Spirit, that I say with Paul:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Phil. 1:21 KJV