December 14, 2015

Gifts That Matter

The Christmas season can be one of excitement and happiness. It may be a time chaos and stress. For many it is a time of impulse shopping, financial indiscretion, and materialism. Some may find it to be a time of mourning and of loss for those we love who are no longer with us, and without whom there is a void in our lives.

It can also be a time of great peace. This season can bring contentment and healing as we focus on the love of Jesus Christ, and on his birth which brought hope and joy to our world.
The Savior spent his life, his ministry, giving. He gave sight to the blind, he raised the dead, he healed the sick, he calmed the tempests; he forgave sins, he gave peace to the soul, love to the world. He suffered for each of us, and then he gave his life that we might gain life eternal.

I have no doubt that the gifts you open on Christmas morning will bring excitement and happiness. Those emotions will be fleeting, they may last minutes, or they may last months, but they will fade. The joy that objects bring to us always fades. There is always something else to want, to need. There will be something more exciting, you will change and that change will bring new interests, new desires, new excitement, new passion. I'm excited for the opportunity to watch you grow and change and to see your wishlists evolve, that's a wonderful part of life. However, I want more than to give you toys, games and treats.

I would that I could give you something more lasting. 
I would give you confidence. 
I would give you kindness, generosity and selflessness. 
I would give you a happy disposition, the ability to lift others and bring them joy. 
I would give you faith and hope. 
I would give you integrity. 
I would give to you a desire to work hard. 
I would give you a heart so big, and a love so strong that it would change the world. 
I would give you peace in your soul, quiet in your mind and contentment in your heart.

I can't. You have to live and grow and experience and seek your own gifts. Through your trials you will have the opportunity to grow and gain your own gifts and talents, and through my words and actions I can try to ease your path and help guide you along the way.

I can show you kindness, fill your world with laughter. 
I can encourage you when life is hard, and teach you to seek for the positive. 
I can explore with you and discover the world at your side. 
I can be patient and hope that you learn from my example. 
I can praise you and hope that praise sinks deep into your mind and teaches you to believe in yourself. 
I can labor with you and show you by my attitude what it means to find work rewarding. 
I can share a smile and a kind word and express the joy it feels to lift another's spirit. 
I can share my faiths, my beliefs and hope that they resonate with your soul.

I will fall short, I will make mistakes, and hopefully as I work to improve and reconcile my actions with my beliefs you will learn to apologize, to forgive yourself, and to keep on trying. I will give you my love, and hopefully in my words, in my embrace, you will find the peace that will fill your soul.

I love you.

Let's make this season a season of gratitude.