Christmas Thoughts

I LOVE the Christmas Season and everything it encompasses - focusing on the Savior, giving gifts, the lights, the music, the feeling! It just makes me so happy and also I love a good excuse to get together with people and to give gifts.

This Christmas season has been a little different for me this year - for a number of reasons. With going to Hawaii in November my regular "schedule" for Christmas got thrown off. I usually have my gifts planned out and purchased by about the first of December. That didnt' even come close to happening this year but the great thing has been that I've actually been less stressed out this year because though I love Christmas I usually get too stressed trying to do too much and worrying to much about things. Not having everything planned out actually made it so I could just go with things and enjoy time and people. And honestly when you focus on others the season becomes that much more enjoyable and meaningful for you.

The last month and a half or so have also been a time of some serious introspection. I've thought alot on contentment vs complacency. I don't think I do very well with being content as too often I equate it with being complacent. So I've thought, studied and prayed to understand the difference because too often not being content makes it more difficult to be grateful. I've asked myself repeatedly - how do I be content with what I have, yet continue to strive to improve myself? Is contentment only a matter of physical or material items and we should never be content about ourselves, personality or attributes? All of my introspection has led me to conclude there is no simple and easy answer to that question. But the best part of all the thought I've been into this is that through the process I somehow have gained more peace with myself. I feel like I've come closer to the balance of not beating myself up when I fail or because I have weaknesses but simply trying each day to be better and to really rely on the Atonement, which means I will USE it frequently.

I've also been reading a super interesting book. I've a very structured, fix-it, let's get this done type of personality and attitude. But I also love people - I think this is best illustrated in the fact I'm a Blue/Red personality, which is great but often frustrating because the main desire for each of those is often in conflict. Blue desires closeness and intimacy and Red desires power and control - those don't go so well with each other. Anyway, my personality leads to me often seeing people as objects instead of people - I have a goal, I want to accomplish that goal and people are simply objects or part of the outside stuff I have to work around to reach my goal. So I've been reading this book called The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict. Now first let me say, I'm not a huge fan or advocate of "self-help" books but I've read The Bonds That Make Us Free, written by the same institute and it was fabulous and life changing and it appears The Anatomy of Peace has the same potential. The focus is on seeing people as people and not as objects and discusses what happens when we see other people as objects and how it affects us.

Lastly, I've really evaluated and decided I needed to refocus my life and having the Savior as my first priority above all else. Sometimes it is too easy to get caught up and focusing on other things that may be of some importance but would be better served if my first focus was on the Savior and then allow everything else to fall into place. The most amazing thing about doing that is that your circumstances don't change, the things that were hard are often still hard but somehow there is a layer of peace that helps you to know that everything will be ok and all things will work out for the best.

So here's to a wonderful and joyous holiday season and an amazing new year to come. May it be filled with learning, fun, laughter, joy, people, and most of all a closer relationship with the Savior. Merry Christmas to all of YOU!
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