Or, as my English side (that I'm uncovering more and more as I get closer to my Study Abroad trip...I haven't even been there yet and I want to be English!) would say, Happy Christmas!
As I've grown older, my perception of Christmas has changed a lot. I really realized this last year when I came home after my first semester away at college. I didn't care much for the gifts--they were all wonderful, of course, and I loved the thought and love (and in some cases hours of time) that were put into each of my gifts whether bought or homemade, but it was something more important. I had been trying to look on the true meaning of Christmas for the past few years: Christ, his birth, and his Atonement for us, and this focus helped me. But on top of that, last year I was just so happy to be home with my family for Christmas and that overshadowed anything that I received present-wise.
This year was very similar. The best Christmas presents in the world I didn't receive today (although I DID receive some very wonderful things from my very wonderful family). I've had them for a while now. First is my Savior, Jesus Christ. He loves me, he suffered and died for me, and through Him I can do anything. He, His gospel, and my Heavenly Father are all I need in my life. Next are two gifts I've had for a week now--being home with my family and the break from school. My family is forever, and I'm so grateful for that, but since I don't get to see them all that often now, it's great to just be home for a little while. I'll probably be tired of them in a few days, but for now, there's no where else I'd rather be, and besides, even when I'm tired of them I still love them and am grateful for them. The break from school is always needed by the end of semester--time to recuperate, time to breathe, and time to relax. That and my family are all I wanted for Christmas. It was so nice to just be sitting on the couch, looking around at all the kids running around, asking if it's their turn to open a present, and just thinking, "I'm so grateful to be here, that this family is mine, and that I get to be with them."
So. This Christmas Day and holiday season, I hope you are grateful for everything that you've been blessed with. I hope you remember the real meaning of Christmas. Our Savior. The third verse of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Silent Night," expresses it perfectly: "Son of God, Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of Redeeming grace." Remember family and those you love. Remember the opportunity we have to make ourselves better--every day, but especially at the New Year. Remember Christ. Remember Christmas and love and family and joy all year round. :)
Much love to all,