I’m fortunate to work for a US company that shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s, and so I always have that week off work (unless I’m working at an overseas affiliate in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas as I’ve done twice before – then I use vacation days).
As much as I love getting ready for Christmas (and despite whatever I’ve said to my lovely wife on Christmas Eve, I really do love getting ready for Christmas), I also love the relaxation that comes after the Big Day, too. We can calmly visit, play with the Christmas gifts (or read or watch them), eat left overs (from the Swedish Smorgasbord on Christmas Eve and the Christmas ham dinner and whatever cookies we may not have given away). Really sweet.
Our Christmas Day was delightful. We had a plan, since we had 10 am church added to our Christmas mix, and our kids were very supportive and helpful, allowing my wife to get to church plenty early to play the prelude. Our sacrament meeting was superb for several reasons:
1. Our deacons normally pass with eight young men and this week (perhaps anticipating a lighter attendance), they passed with only six, and we had a much larger than normal attendance, so the sacrament portion of the meeting took nearly twice as long as normal. That was really nice from my point of view, since it’s the point of the meeting, and it was cool to take the sacrament on Christmas Day.We opened “Santa” presents early in the day, then had our traditional breakfast (more of the smorgasbord from the night before) before going to church. We opened the rest of presents after church, while Skyping with our kids who were in the Pacific Northwest instead of at home. Amazing that we could be “together” that way.
2. We sang eight congregational hymns. All but the sacrament hymns were Christmas carols, and even the sacrament hymn was God Loved Us So He Sent His Son, so it also nodded to the Savior’s birth. Both our ward organists played, which was also cool.
3. Our bishopric were the speakers – each for five minutes or less. Lots of scriptures and tight testimonies. The spirit was terrific and their messages were really meaningful to me. They speak very rarely in our ward, and I’m glad when they do.
I’m grateful for a holiday that brings me to focus on the Savior and on my family in the way that Christmas does. I know theoretically I could do this any day of the year, but there is something about Christmas that makes it special.
I always hit that moment in the days before Christmas where I’m sure that we will either not get everything done or that something will not be enough. And I’m always happy when I’m wrong. And this year, thank goodness, I was wrong again.