This year I seem to be struggling more than last year. I have felt myself retracting and wanting to retreat inside of myself. The holidays are NOT supposed to be a time of sadness, yet I have found myself resigned to sadness because my husband is not here to share this time with us. Christmas was always such a big thing for Scott and so everything about it reminds me of his absence. Having just gone through the anniversary of his death and Thanksgiving, I am now facing his birthday, our wedding anniversary, Christmas and then my birthday all in the next month.
I don’t want it to be this way…
so I have been praying a lot to try to
find that light inside of myself that
feels like it is dimming.
I know in the past that reaching out to others has helped to lessen my sorrow, but that can be hard to do when you feel sad and don’t feel like you have a lot of light to share. Even when I don’t feel like it, I know that it is something that I need to do.
A month ago we had a family discussion about Christmas this year and decided to make some changes. Financially things are different for us now and I never really liked the huge emphasis that was placed on expensive gifts anyway. We decided to purge the parts of Christmas that caused stressed and didn’t help us feel the spirit. We wanted to simplify and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas.
For family night this week we watched a little video called #ShareTheGift
about the first gift of Christmas. It reminded me of our plans from a month ago, and I felt a little light inside of me.
We had decided that we were going to give the gift of service this year to others who were in need. So after we finished our family night, I called a local shelter for teens looking for a volunteer opportunity for myself and my two teens who are still at home with me. As I talked with the coordinator on the phone and explained our situation, we began to brainstorm about possible service activities. I felt more light inside, and I began to feel excitement to get involved. I saw beyond a single opportunity and realized that this would be a great ongoing monthly service project for our family. I even thought of others that I could invite to join us.
Acting to find a way to reach out was the catalyst that started that light back inside of me, and continuing to act will give it the fuel to keep growing brighter and brighter.
I have discovered something about the light inside of me…
The only way to grow it is to share it
I thought that I would share some of our plans in hope that it will give you ideas of how to #sharethegift and how to grow your own light…
- A Gift for Christ: This year we are each going to wrap a present for the Savior… a goal of something that we will sacrifice or do to show our love for Him. I was touched by a talk by Neill Marriott in a recent Women’s Conference where she shared her goal to memorize the document, The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles as a gift for the Savior this Christmas. We decided it would be good for each of us to think of something we could offer to the Savior. We are going to wrap these ideas up, open them Christmas morning and share our experience of sacrifice with each other.
- Sharing with Those in Need: We have always participated in the giving tree, but my children have never had to personally sacrifice gifts in order to do this. I wanted them to be more involved, so we discussed how we can use our Christmas budget to modestly get gifts for each other and then to help those who are in need. We are allocating some of our money for presents to help others.
- Service to Others: From Thanksgiving to Christmas we want to participate in a family service project each week. We are volunteering in a live nativity, at a local shelter, and local service center for newborns. We are also going to the temple and cleaning for my sister who just had a baby.
- Service to Each Other: Instead of just buying presents this year, we are giving each other the gift of our time by gifting a coupon of service for each family member.