First the lights. There's something about the tasteful and beautiful display of Christmas lights that speaks to my soul. My favorite place during this season are the Lights at Temple Square. The work begins far before the Christmas season starts and it provides delight and awe for millions as they travel from afar to experience this incredible display of beauty and wonder. As I wander through Temple Square, the trees and displays are lit with a brilliance I can only imagine is an imitation of the heavens in full light near God.
I love to drive the streets as darkness falls and see how people have decorated their homes. I'm not really into overkill, but I absolutely adore the feelings of light, hope and beauty will well within me as I gaze at these different displays.
There is a neighbor, a few streets over, whom I call the "Christmas Guy." Apparently, he used to be a window dresser at Macey's in New York City. Whether that is true or not, I don't know. What I do know, is that I anxiously await the Christmas season every year for the chance to drive by his house, pull to the side of the street and gaze at the wonder that are the displays in the two front rooms displayed through the picture windows. There's just something about the knowledge of the amazing amount of work that goes into these beautiful Christmas displays that touches me so deeply. So, this is also one of my favorite things.
Another of my favorite things is the feeling of love and sharing which is fostered at this time of year. I truly do wish that everyone could continue this feeling around the year. Yes, I know atheists are vehemently opposed to these feelings of love, support and gratefulness we have for one another and credit to our God. But I really do wish, feeling a little pollyanna here, that we could all just be nice. I love the feeling when the doorbell rings and a neighbor appears bearing gifts. It's not really the gifts, but the fact that they thought enough of the Salimas to bring a gift to our door. Happy faces, laughter, joy . . . yeah, I really love that about this season.
Caroling is one of my favorite things. I was in a teenager in Colorado and caroling was something we did every single Christmas. I'm really not fond of the cold and the memories of feet similar to blocks of ice tended to mar any joy I may have felt during the season. But then I moved to Utah and it came to be a fun thing to do, where it wasn't as cold, knock on friends and neighbors doors and sing Christmas Carols to them. Seeing the smiles on their faces is really priceless. Now, the carolers come to my door and it is something I enjoy immensely.
Christmas trees. Oh my word, I LOVE Christmas trees. There are currently six gracing my front room. Really.
I love to turn off all the lights in my house, lay on the couch and just steep myself in the feelings all those Christmas trees and lights foster in me.
In the craziness this world is, I love to sit calmly in my home and sweetly enjoy the peace those tiny little lights give me. There's something about one little mini light, times a thousand, that can make the very impossible seem entirely possible. Alone, that little light can do nothing to stave off the darkness. But together, with thousands of others of its kind, it can light a room, light Temple Square, even light the world. Not unlike what we can do, if we only stand together, shoulder to shoulder with Him, the one we celebrate at this time of year.
How loud can be one voice, when joined by thousands, tens of thousands, even millions.?Then a chorus can speak and be heard. This is what Christmas does for me, it makes everything possible. Even with today's economy. Even with the administration soon to come. Even with all the hate being showered upon Christians. This is Christmas, and we can make our stand.
For the most important part of Christmas is Jesus Christ Himself. He who descended from His throne on high to be born in a lowly manger to save all mankind. Because of Jesus Christ we have the Atonement, at-one-ment, the ability to repent and return to our heavenly home. Because of Jesus Christ the bands of death were irrevocably broken and the grave can no longer hold her dead.
Because of Jesus Christ and the example He showed us through His life, we know there is a better way to behave. We know what sin is and what it isn't. We understand the grand scheme of life and the eternities. We know the possibilities . . . if we're willing to do our part.
Because of Jesus Christ we know life is eternal. We know that families can be forever, if we are willing to work to make it so. We know there is so much more, so much more than the world would have us understand . . . all because He condescended to come into mortality and show us the way, pay the price for our eternal souls and simply love us.
He loves us enough to shoulder our pain. He loves us enough to lift our burdens. He loves us enough to stand with us even though we stumble and fall. He loves us enough to carry us when we can no longer walk by ourselves.
This is really what Christmas is all about. It is about the birth of He who is our Redeemer. Little wonder it is my favorite time of year.
Return to the Neighborhood.