Friday, December 25, 2015

The Giving of Gifts

At the LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional earlier this month, President Uchtdorf shared a message about "The Generous one."

"As adults, if we are lucky, every now and again we can briefly catch a glimpse of what it feels like to be a child once more."

"The thought that someone we love is doing something special for us, and our excitement about the special thing we are planning to do for them warms our hearts and fills us with love and anticipation."

I loved these statements early in his talk for a few reasons.

First, anyone who knows me, knows I get very, very excited about Christmas. I love picking out simple presents for my kids, husband and extended family. I start shopping early and I wrap almost as soon as things arrive. I love the lights and music of the Christmas season. I love to sit on the couch int he dark, listening to carols and just looking at my tree lights. I get so excited to give the gifts I planned, and sometimes I can't keep my own secret! I think I am blessed, as President Uchtdorf said, to feel childlike once more.

Second, I love what he said about giving and receiving gifts. We are so blessed. When it comes to temporal things we have SO MUCH. There are so many in the world who have nothing, and sometimes I even feel a bit guilty buying a gift for my kids, knowing that the item is far from a "need" (though we do try to keep in mind things that are useful as we are selecting gifts for our kids).

President Uchtdorf's comments reminded me that the joy of giving comes because of the love we feel for those around us. And that this love has its roots in Christlike love, in charity. And when gift-giving is motivated by this kind of love, it helps us, in a tiny way, to be like our Savior.

I also learned this Christmas season about how receiving a gift can help us feel our Savior's

love. A few weeks ago Brian told me that he was working on a Christmas surprise for me. He had started over a month before, working on it late every night while I was in Florida. Then he took his lunch breaks every day to keep working. He didn't even want to tell me about it because he always wants so much to surprise me. But he feared it wouldn't be done, so he told me that he was working on something so that he could bring it home and work on it. Night after night he headed downstairs and worked for hours, staying up late to get just a bit more done before bed. He spent the first days of his Christmas vacation finishing it. Tears came to my eyes this morning as I opened the finished product. It was amazing and beautiful. But in that moment of opening it I didn't just see the gift on my lap, but I saw the hours and hours of time put into this gift.

I felt such indescribable love each time I saw Brian head downstairs to work on the gift because I knew that he was doing it for me. I felt an overwhelming amount of love as I sat looking at this special gift.

And I thought of how this experience has helped me to better understand the love the Savior has for me. How much he must love me to being willing to come to earth, to suffer for MY sins, MY pains, MY weaknesses and MY sorrows. How grateful I am for Him, because now I can overcome all of these things. Because of Him, I can become like Him.

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