Every year on Christmas Eve, our family gathers in the basement of my parent's home after we eat our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of fried oysters and clam chowder (which I think all of my sisters-in-law refuse to eat) and the Greed-Fest (aka opening of Christmas presents) is over.
At this point, it's time to sit down and think about the true Spirit of Christmas. The actual reason for the holiday. We sit in a circle and my dad begins by lighting his candle and giving his "Gift to Jesus," meaning something he can do for the next year that would bring him closer to the Savior. The next person in the circle lights his/her candle from dad's and gives a Gift to Jesus and so on and so on until everyone has a lit candle and has given their gift.
Last year my gift to Jesus was to sit down every night and read the Book of Mormon with my little family. I felt like there was no time like the present to get in that habit. I'm happy to say that for probably the first time since we began giving gifts to Jesus on Christmas Eve, I've a)remembered throughout the year what my gift was and b)actually followed through with what I've given. We've missed a few days here and there, but I can gladly say that we're in the habit of reading scriptures every night before J goes to bed.
When daddy begins reading him stories and it's scripture time, he comes running out to get me yelling "SKIPTOOORS, SKIPTOOORS" and of course, melts my heart in the process. With our little toddler, it's taking forever (we barely began the Book of Jacob because he can only sit through a few verses per night), but I can feel we've been blessed for our efforts.
This year I won't be with my side of the family for Christmas (I'll be in the hospital with my baby), and since I can't be there, I would like to give my Gift to Jesus a little early and make you, my blog friends, hold me to it!
This year my Gift to Jesus is:
To make personal scripture study a priority
I've really slacked in this area lately and feel so much better when I read my scriptures every day. I lost my scriptures when we moved last August and just the other day found them. I've been praying every day since August to find them and it was really a trial of my faith that it took so long, but Heavenly Father came through and showed me that prayers aren't always answered at the moment we want them answered. To show my gratitude for my answered prayer, I truly feel like this is the best payback I can give him.
I gained a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon when I was 17 and an even stronger one on my mission and hope to strengthen it even more in the coming year.
Since I'll be in the hospital having a baby for Christmas...Merry Christmas everyone! In all of the craziness of the season may you sit down and remember the true reason for why we celebrate. I cherish everyone of you and hope you have as lovely a Christmas as I know I'm going to have. I'll be holding one of my greatest gifts from heaven in my arms that day!