Last year at this time, I was very definitely NOT at my best. I was overwhelmed with too many unimportant things that I felt were beckoning me. We were financially challenged...to say the least! And we were up to our ears in SNOW!
Have I mentioned that I don't love snow? I probably have just never given it the respect and admiration it deserves. I am fashionably undaunted and immovable which means I insist on wearing high heels and resist appropriate outerwear even when it's less than 20 degrees and there is 12" of snow on the ground. So it's probably my own fault that I haven't had a good experience with snow. Maybe someday, I'll give it another chance...maybe a LONG time from now...maybe...
Last year, I went through the motions most of the Christmas season and just endured all the programs, decorating, gift-giving and -receiving. Even the music and the baking weren't doing it for me. I got through almost the entire month of December in my "mist of darkness" and then late in the month, two things happened that brought me back to reality. As far as I know, they are unrelated, but as I have seen in other areas of my life, there really are no accidents. Stuff happens by design and with a very specific purpose in mind. And it's all related to everything else.
The first thing was the very sweet, simple testimony that our home teacher bore about the Savior's birth and the importance of remembering it during the Christmas season. Isn't that crazy that I hadn't thought about that ONCE last December? I put out all the nativity sets and listened to Silent Night and STILL I was missing it. I loved the heartfelt sincerity of that testimony and it helped the clouds part for me. That man's testimony of the Savior was the first thing I thought about when the Christmas music started this year. And I thought about it again when we put up the tree. And I look forward to having it stay with me throughout this season and the ones to come.
The second thing happened on Christmas morning. Let me just preface this by saying that in a very small, very close knit community like the one we lived in, neighbors are constantly dropping off gifts and treats throughout the holiday season, so it's not uncommon to wake up and find two or three things waiting at the front door. Sometime during the month, a wrapped box appeared at our door. In the chaos that was our regular weekday routine, one of us picked up the box, put it under the tree, and promptly forgot about it. Several days later on Christmas morning, that was the last box under the tree because no one knew who it was for, or where it had come from. Craig opened it and found three $100 bills in an unmarked envelope inside the box.
That was one of those defining, memorable moments for all of us. It's one of those experiences that either is currently, or will be at some point, written in all of our journals and shared with future generations. Everyone was totally silent. We were completely overwhelmed at the kindness and generosity that had come when we needed it most. And I, personally, was overwhelmed and amazed that even though I had completely disregarded and forgotten about the Savior throughout most of the month, He had not forgotten about us.
I am eternally grateful to both of those people for sharing with us of their own blessings and reminding me of things I had forgotten.