By Kari Diane Pike
It all started because I wanted to set up the Christmas tree. The couch sat in the only spot the tree would fit. I couldn’t move the couch until I got rid of the oversized Lazy Boy bequeathed to me by my father. I didn’t care for the chair, but I couldn’t give it away. My soon-to-be married son staked his claim on the chair as soon as he saw it. But, in order to move the chair, I needed to clean the garage.
I just stood there staring. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I felt stuck. I didn’t have time to clean the garage. I needed the time to send Christmas cards, bake cookies, shop for gifts, and take my psychology final. Aurgh!
After a silent prayer, and a stern talking to myself, I finally wrote out a plan. First, take the final. While I technically had until after Christmas to take the test, the testing center would close the week before Christmas. Besides, getting that out of the way would relieve some stress and allow me to put away the clutter of my books. After the final, I could tackle the garage, get the chair out of the front room, move the couch, and set up the tree. I could see the light. I didn’t hear the distant rumbling telling me it was really an on oncoming train!
I wanted to be ready for Christmas. I wanted everything to be perfect…perfect house…perfect gifts…perfect tree, all perfectly organized. Instead, I found myself greeting unexpected guests, filling numerous orders for food and commodities, and shuttling children and their friends to games and holiday events. When the missionaries called and asked if I would attend a discussion they were having with a new investigator, I couldn’t believe I heard myself say I would be happy to be there! I just didn’t have any more time to spare. And why, oh why, did I buy those tickets to see “The Forgotten Carols?” I still had too much to do to get ready for the holidays.
I attended the discussion with the missionaries. The gifts of the Spirit were so strong. My life was forever changed as I shared my testimony of the gospel with a new friend. Later that night, sitting with my husband and parents, Michael McLean’s music filled my soul with joy. I expressed these feelings as Doug and I finally crawled into bed. I think the words I used were, “I may not be physically prepared, but my heart is prepared for Christmas. Bring it on!”
I need to be more careful about what I say. I thought I had today and tomorrow to catch up on cleaning and shopping and getting ready to have all 23 children, spouses, and grandchildren in our home for the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s. Unexpectedly, at 6:00am this morning, seven of them walked in my front door. All I can say is,
“A very Merry Christmas to all of you…and a great and joyous New Year!”