From the Inside Out

Dear Readers,

We also finished putting up the Christmas tree yesterday. It was a multi-day process this year. We just worked on it as we had time and energy.  I used to be the person that loved to get everything out the day after Thanksgiving.  We paid proper homage to the holiday and then just moved on with full speed.  I found that by doing this, I found I was tired of Christmas sometimes with a full week to go before it's arrival.

This year I didn't want to be in a hurry.  I didn't want to force upon myself Christmas-time.  I wanted to feel it from the inside out.  Let me explain by putting up the decorations and everything right away (listening to Christmas music, etc in full force) I was experiencing Christmas from the outside in.  I was dependent on my outer experiences to somehow shape my heart and spirit.  Some years it worked, some years it didn't and I still felt kind of empty at Christmastime.

I also didn't feel the need to rush, because my daughter asked if we could keep out our "Blessings" decoration from Thanksgiving.  She told me that Christmas was about blessings too.  I wasn't going to argue, so we've had a gradual transition so that we could continue to recognize all of our blessings and our greatest blessing, the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I walked into a mega-mart type of store.  Until yesterday I had only been in the grocery store or other small specialty shops.  It was dizzying with all of the displays of "buy this, only x amount of dollars".  The aisles were full of shoppers and "must have" products.  It brought a feeling of stress over me as I realized that this is what many people experience over finding "perfect" gifts.  It was influencing me from the outside in, rather than the inside out.  I didn't like it.

It made me think of President Monson's quote from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional that said "Let us make Christmas real. It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. (source)"  Christmas is exactly what we have made of it.  This year I chose to feel it from the inside out.  I have done less (decorating, eating, cooking, delivering, music listening, reading, partying, etc.) than any other year, but I have probably felt more joy than any other year so far.  I can get into specifics another time about exactly what it is that I am doing/ not doing.

Are you feeling Christmas-y on the inside?  I know it's all around us on the outside, but are you truly feeling the joy of the season?

Hope so,



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