It has been a wonderful month with my little family, leading up to today's celebration. I've loved watching Ben and Hugh start to catch on to the whole idea of Santa Claus, but even more starting to understand the real reason is to celebrate Jesus' birth. They seem very familiar now with the role of the three wise men, thanks mostly to Marc's role and costume at our Church's Christmas dinner.
I've especially loved the quiet moments with my little Lucy. I love her so much, to the point that my heart aches with love. (Not that I don't love my boys just as much... it's just a different love.) I don't know quite how to describe it. I think there is some aspect of feeling extra protective of my baby girl, as well as some part of me that is reminded of how much I love my other two girls.
But, there is something extra magical about celebrating Christmas with a baby around. It seems so much easier to imagine being Mary, holding her precious newborn, anticipating what blessings and surprises the future will hold for that little one. I can't imagine what emotions she must have experienced knowing her perfect, tiny babe would be the most important person ever to come into the world.
The other day at church, my heart was particularly tender and as we closed the final meeting with Away in a Manger, the words overwhelmed me to tears. Since I was the one leading the music, I tried my best to hide it, but at one point I was too choked up to even get the words out.
We had just had a lesson, based on this talk by Elder Holland (my favorite talk from this past General Conference). I was feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude for the Savior's love in my life, for His willingness to fulfill His mission, His willingness to suffer for my pains and sins, His willingness to die so that we can live again and find purpose in living when life falls apart. He has been with me through life's hardest moments, I've felt it and know it without a doubt. He has been my source of strength and hope.
Lucy had fallen asleep in my arms about half way through the lesson. The weight and warmth of her little body cuddled up against mine filled my heart with so much love. Love for her and love for the little Baby born so long ago, making it possible for my little family to be eternal. But, not just my family. Every family. Those grieving families in Connecticut. I'm still thinking of and praying for them.
So, after that particularly touching lesson and with my little Lucy still softly sleeping on my shoulder, as we sang the final verse of that Christmas hymn, there was no way to keep the tears from coming.
Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care, And fit us for heaven, to live with thee there.
This is precisely why it's the most wonderful time of the year. Music and words that make us pause and reflect and recommit and prioritize. The challenge now, like with every year, is to remember those reflections and promises to try to be just a little bit better and remember the love and role of our Savior just a little bit more.