December 14, 2019

When Cleaning Becomes More Important Than Christ

Disclaimer: I usually don't bring up religion here at Kerrific but tonight I'm going to. Tonight I am sad and frustrated and I turn to you. Maybe you will be upset, maybe you will cry with me, but mostly I hope you think. I hope, just maybe, this will inspire someone to be kinder, to think about others and just maybe, through you, it will change someone's life.

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tonight was our ward Christmas party. For those of you not familiar with this concept it's when all those who worship together in our area gatherer together to celebrate Christ's birth. Often we have a dinner, sing carols, and just enjoy being together. We are always encouraged to invite those who live in our area but are not of our faith to join us for this celebration as we Light the World. Tonight was this celebration in our area.

You may have read this and thought that sounds like a wonderful thing, which it should be. However, tonight our celebration was missing the Light if Christ. The Spirit of Christmas wasn't there. How can we celebrate the birth of the Savior without having his spirit in our presence?

Tonight started as a normal night for our family. We had somewhere to go, we were running late. We arrived at the church house about fifteen minutes late and the party had started. We found a place to sit and visited the buffet to fill plates for the children and once they were settled for ourselves. We have a large family, we took up a whole table by ourselves. Nothing about this is new, it's part of parenting. Yes, I was flustered, but I was looking forward to the uplifting that I knew could come as I celebrated a wonderful event with friends and family.

I was feeding myself, I was feeding the baby, it's slow but it was working. My kids were behaving ok and eating well. I was half way though my plate when the singing began. I stopped eating to enjoy the music and sing along to my favorite carols. I helped my little ones follow along with the words. We sang together. The Spirit of Christmas was beginning to fill the room. And then it stopped.

Just like that it was over. Never mind that there were a good number of people still eating. Never mind that some were still visiting the buffet for food. The Bishop himself, the leader of our little congregation, had been so busy serving at the buffet table that he hadn't had the opportunity to sit with his family and eat. All at once everyone was moving, putting away tables and chairs. This was not a gathering of friends, it was a group of people there under obligation and anxious to finish the cleaning so they could be on their way.

Yes, my family of ten were all still eating when a bucket arrived at our table with a frowning face and a quick request for "dirty silverware please". But my faith is strong. I know that Christ's love is bigger than these people who just wanted to go home. What about those who don't have that? What if I had invited that friend who did not share my faith? What would she think of these people? What about that elderly person who doesn't get visitors but put in the effort to wear a special Christmas sweater that went home without a conversation? What about the mother who spent the entire meal feeding others and not herself? What about the person with mental illness who struggled to convince themselves to attend and sits in the corner by themselves? What about the person who was still at work and arrived as quickly as they could? What about you? Did you feel welcome? What would Christ have done?

I know my Savior Jesus Christ and I know what he would have done. He would have hugged that grandmother and listened to every story she had to tell about her grandchildren's letters, complemented her sweater and then invited them to join him for the holiday. He would have hugged that mother too, even if she was covered in baby food slime, and held that baby while mom ate a good meal and chatted with friends all while telling her how wonderful her family is and what an important job she is doing as a mother. He would have sat with that individual all by themselves and asked them quietly about their day and introduced them to others until they felt comfortable and part of the group. Christ also would have sat with that person who arrived late. He would have filled their plate, reheated, found more food, and made them feel welcome no matter the time or the tardiness of their arrival. He would have taken time and given love to each individual in attendance. Each would be welcome and embraced. Each would leave feeling loved and uplifted. As we celebrate Christmas, the day of Christ's birth, are we sharing this love? And are we teaching our children to love each other in this way?

I promise there is no better feeling in the world than the love of Christ! He loves each of us. He even loves me, the frustrated mom with the children that don't always listen. He knows exactly who I am, what I'm going through and what I feel. He loves me for me! I am important to him!

I hope this Christmas that you remember that Christ is so much more than the people who celebrate on his day. I hope you take the time to see, truly see, those around you. And I encourage you to look beyond the gifts and the cleaning and the parties and see the people as Christ would see them. Love them just a little. The world will be better for that love!

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