12.12.2014

A Simple Christmas

Van Gogh said: "How difficult it is to be simple." I feel like that couldn't be more true. Rather than keeping this post simple and leaving it at that, I'm going to ramble a bit. :)

Christmas really feels like such a magical time of year, and it's easy for me to get caught up and all the magic and all the fun things that we could do. After Halloween is over I start getting really hyped up with ideas of things I want to do to create a "perfect" holiday season - so much that I forget why we're even celebrating. Between all of the exciting ideas I see online (diy advent calendars, handmade ornaments, 12 days of Christmas experiences for your family...) it is so easy for me to get overwhelmed and caught up in the idea of creating a picturesque, lovely Christmas, which usually correlates with being way too busy and stressed, and spending more money than we should.

When you get down to the real reason for Christmas- Celebrating Christ- the extra ideas don't seem as important. Some may be important for sure. Just not all 200+. We have traditions, and they are a big part of our Christmas celebrations, but sometimes less is more. However, being content with a simple Christmas (and let's be real- a simple life in general too) is hard.

I think the best way to get back to simplicity starts with thinking more about those around us.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf told this really beautiful story:
"An old Jewish legend tells of two brothers, Abram and Zimri, who owned a field and worked it together. They agreed to divide both the labor and the harvest equally. One night as the harvest came to a close, Zimri could not sleep, for it didn’t seem right that Abram, who had a wife and seven sons to feed, should receive only half of the harvest, while he, with only himself to support, had so much. So Zimri dressed and quietly went into the field, where he took a third of his harvest and put it in his brother’s pile. He then returned to his bed, satisfied that he had done the right thing. 
"Meanwhile, Abram could not sleep either. He thought of his poor brother, Zimri, who was all alone and had no sons to help him with the work. It did not seem right that Zimri, who worked so hard by himself, should get only half of the harvest. Surely this was not pleasing to God. And so Abram quietly went to the fields, where he took a third of his harvest and placed it in the pile of his beloved brother. The next morning, the brothers went to the field and were both astonished that the piles still looked to be the same size. 
"That night both brothers slipped out of their houses to repeat their efforts of the previous night. But this time they discovered each other, and when they did, they wept and embraced. Neither could speak, for their hearts were overcome with love and gratitude.  This is the spirit of compassion: that we love others as ourselves, seek their happiness, and do unto them as we hope they would do unto us."
That story is one of my all-time favorites, and is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's the time of year where it's so easy to get caught up in all things materialistic and perfect-looking, but ultimately that is not what brings joy. I know that I feel the most happiness and peace when I'm thinking about other people and focusing on helping them.

Thomas S. Monson said: “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness. … We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us."

When I think of the reason we celebrate Christmas--Christ's birth--it strikes me what a simple yet beautiful event that was. Christ was born in a stable, and a bright star in the sky signified his birth. The event went unnoticed by many, but it's one of the most important events in history. What better way to celebrate this simple yet beautiful story than with a simple yet beautiful Christmas? And I'm not talking about beautiful like a magazine-worthy tree and perfectly glazed sugar cookies, I'm talking about the kind of beauty that's harder to describe, that comes from doing good.

I'm hoping Shaun and I can make our Christmas more meaningful by simplifying and looking at those around us who we can help. 

1 comment:

  1. Love this. We're supposed to follow Christ's example, so why not follow His version of Christmas? Like you said, simple, yet beautiful. That sounds perfect to me. :) And thank you for your Christmas card as well! I don't know why I can't get on to view your family blog, but it looks like you are all doing great!! *hugs* Merry Christmas!!

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