Not everyone can "be of good cheer" 24/7. Some of us have to work at it, and I am grateful for that. I have feelings, and I am a very compassionate person, hence being emotional. Luckily, the "be of good cheer" part does come into effect after realizing how blessed I am in the things that I have. Luckily I have my children, and a few Christmas childhood memories that help me to remember that every Christmas can be filled with joy, and wonder.
My emotions come from the fact that all of our kids are growing up way too fast. It can also be that my hormones are changing as I get older! I know that this won't be Sierra's final Christmas with us, but it will probably be the last time she will literally decorate the house with us. Next year she will come home from college to an already decorated home, and all she'll have to do is eat, sleep, and play piano for us.
Still...so many of us have different reasons why we get so emotional during the Christmas season. Mine is missing family.
Family is key in my life, and with our families being in Texas, and out west it can be hard sometimes...especially during the holidays. I miss the gift exchanges on Christmas Eve wondering whether we were going to have it at our Aunt Marlynda's house in Mapleton, or my mother in laws house in Salt Lake City. I miss walking around Temple Square to see the lights. For 10 years I did that with my husbands family in Utah, and there are years when I miss that.
This year is one of them.
After watching the Christmas devotional given by the First Presidency early this morning it renewed my soul. I honestly don't know what I would do without their words of wisdom. Christmas time is one of those times I reflect back on my childhood, and I remember some of the simplest Christmases our mother made for us. I only remember a few, but the ones I remember I knew she did her best to make us happy in giving us simple & meaningful gifts.
I remember one year when it was just the three of us (me, my sister, and my mom) she decorated the house with things she bought at thrift stores, and put a small Christmas tree on top of a sturdy t.v. tray. She made a small tree skirt to cover the tray, & it didn't matter to me that our tree was on a tray with the gifts underneath. What mattered to me was seeing our mom happy because she made that one Christmas super special all by herself, and when you would pass by our house on Richard street...the tree looked even bigger when it was lit! I remember being the happiest little girl on the block!
I wish I had pictures to share, but all I have are memories. Memories in which to share these stories with our children. My sister and I never exchanged gifts with each other or our mother, but now that I look back...it didn't matter. I didn't get upset because gifts from extended family members weren't given to us. I was just happy to see our mother happy even if it was just for that moment, and what I remember the most is the love I received from my mother on Christmas day...not so much the gifts.
Today, and for the past 18 years I always try to make Christmas for the kids valuable. Valuable meaning joyful, and filled with love. This year is going to be even simpler than the last, and I have reminded myself that Christmas is not about the gifts...it's about the love we share as a family, and giving of our time to each other, and those we love.
No matter how emotional the holidays can get for some of us just reflect back to a happy place. Remembering some of my childhood Christmases, and those that I have had with my own family helps me to keep that joy, and wonder in my life.
Focusing on the Savior plays a significant role during Christmas, and knowing that I have Him in my life helps turn those tears of emotional sadness into joy.
Then the "be of good cheer" part comes into play.