Merry Christmas, dear reader. I know the actual occasion has passed, but the significance of this day is something I try to hold close to my heart.
As I grow older, as my kids grow older, there seems to be greater opportunity for reflection...just more to look back on, I suppose. I often wonder if I'm becoming the person I want to be, the greatest example of whom is Jesus Christ. Of the many qualities I admire in Him, one that draws me most is the profoundly direct yet truly humble nature of His character. I think it stays on my mind because it's something I constantly gauge in myself...whether I'm being genuine, to what degree my instincts are without guile, whether my motives are for the right reason. When I read His Sermon on the Mount, I'm struck by how much power a person can possess simply by being honest, sincere, and true. I feel it in the words He spoke, the unsurpassed goodness of His character and how that set Him apart, how it endowed Him with an authority that could come in no other way.
I would like to be that good, or some fraction of it. I would like to be someone who has rooted hypocrisy from her heart, whose concern for others motivates her to devote great energy to making this world a better place. I would like to be warm, kind, and filled with love for everyone. I would like to understand the worth of a soul.
I think I'm on a good path...but I'm also beset by troubles, distractions, by my own weaknesses and faults.
I suppose this is one of the steadiest truths I've come to recognize: a fervent struggle is inevitable in becoming a better person (how could it be otherwise?), but God has patience and confidence in us that surpasses understanding, and through Christ's atonement we can find greater power to change, overcome, and improve.
It makes me want to keep trying, even when I'm discouraged by the ugliness I see in myself, the competing interests, the same old struggles which have plagued me for years.
Somehow, this is the meaning of Christmas that stays with me. I wish you peace, love, and joy along with it.