Thursday, December 3, 2009
by Kari Diane Pike
One of the things I love most about the Christmas season is the traditions. I delight in having an excuse to bake, sample, and share yummy treats, burst into song in the grocery store, read enchanting tales to my children, who now claim to be to old for bedtime stories, and just cozy up with my sweetheart to watch an old classic movie like "It's a Wonderful Life" or "An Affair To Remember." Above all, I have come to cherish the traditions of Christmas because of the message they carry and the reminder we are given about what is most important in our lives.
It has been a tough year for this world in which we live. No one can blame us if we seem a little down and out. Earlier this year I didn't feel particularly excited about the upcoming holidays. In fact, the thought nearly put me into a panic. Thanksgiving came anyway. I'm so glad it did. We drove 13 hours to Phoenix and spent 3 full days with our children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, cousins, in-laws, out-laws, and friends (48 all together). We ate turkey and all the fixings, played games, shopped, ate more turkey, stood around the piano and sang tunes (thank you for your gifted playing, Trina) and talked and talked and talked. Our son set up his Christmas tree while we were there. As I sat listening to the singing and watching the pattern of the lights on the tree, I felt a longed for peace wrap itself around me and seep deep into my soul. I thought about the angels who sang announcing Christ's birth, and the star that illuminated the heavens. I remembered why Christ came to earth and why we are all here. My family thinks it was the jalapeno chips I ate and the liter of Mountain Dew I drank that kept me awake for the long drive home, but I know it was the joy and anticipation that filled my heart.
The day we arrived home (about 1:30 am), I dug out the Christmas story book and the advent cards we use every year. Each card and story has a scripture attached to it to help us think about the Savior and his mission on earth. I encouraged my husband to call the nieces and nephews attending BYU and invited them over for dinner next Sunday. I opened my recipe books and made a list of ingredients for the caramels and fudge and cookies we will create. Saturday, we will decorate the tree, shop for a few gifts (sigh..no I haven't even started that part yet) and prepare for the First Presidency message. Oh...and I can't forget to set up the nativities! Over the years we have accumulated a few. Most of them are small and I can set them up in little corners throughout the house. I love nativities! I love traditions! I love Christmas!
Yesterday, one of our daughters posted a story about setting up their nativity. She said, "Got out the Christmas decorations. Setting up the Nativity, first one I take out is one of the Wise Men. I say, Here is one of the Wise Men, Wes starts digging in the box and says...where is the foolish man?" (In the above picture, Wes is the middle boy holding the baby.) I love being a grandma!
And I love all of you!