I've been feeling a little lost this holiday season. I've been standing in long lines while rushing to get things done. I've been tossing and turning all night. I've been feeling pressured to do more, make more, buy more, as social media reveals how much more inventive and ambitious and organized others are. As someone who actively tries to simplify their life, adopting the "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude at this accelerated holiday pace has done nothing but successfully tie an impossible knot of stress in my stomach. My plate seems overflowing with things to be done, and only this many days left to do them in.
Each year, no matter how much or little is done, Christmas inevitably comes with back-to-back days of family and friends; giving and receiving of gifts; every budget overspent; late nights and long naps on the couch; and enough food to almost make me believe I'll never be hungry again. And the same will happen this year even if I don't work myself into a frenzy.
I know that I need to focus on what Christmas means to me, and build the foundation of what I want it to mean to me in future years. I read a beautiful quote in the program at church this past Sunday that put that meaning into perspective:
"Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts. We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season. We can keep Him in our thoughts and in our lives as we go about the work He would have us perform here on earth. At this time, particularly, let us follow His example as we love and serve our fellowman."While my plate seems full, I can feel that tug on my heart (and my conscious) that there are more pressing things that need to be done - and more important work to be performed than hunting down the perfect pair of stockings before Christmas day.
- Thomas S. Monson