I had such a wonderful experience with that lesson. The kids really were completely silent and the Spirit was so strong in that room that it was tangible. Even after we said the closing prayer, everyone just kind of sat there, basking in the glow of the Holy Ghost, completely silent. Which is totally abnormal for a group of rowdy teenagers who are usually up and chattering as soon as the final "amen" is pronounced.
And then some of the Primary kids ran in the room, breaking the spell as they laughed. And that was that.
But it all made me think about my manic approach to the holidays this season. I have never been less prepared for Christmas than I am this year. I can blame my cross-country move, but that was 4 1/2 months ago and I really should have planned things a bit more. I may not be the most organized of people, but I normally have stocking stuffers purchased a couple months before Thanksgiving. I usually have an idea in place for my Christmas card in the summer, and make sure I get the right picture before Thanksgiving. I have lists of ideas for gifts. Sewing projects are begun months before Christmas, and the rest of my shopping, while still done in December is usually done by the first week.
I really hate feeling so rushed during the holidays. I've completely missed the reason for it all this year. The Christmas shopping wasn't even begun until Black Friday, and only finished a few days ago. It took me 2 weeks to finish decorating the house, and I didn't derive much pleasure from it at all. The stocking stuffers were an afterthought. The Christmas picture for my card was taken on December 12 and the card was made late that night. They were finally mailed out this past Friday. Gifts for extended family weren't even thought of until this past week, and naturally, I mailed them late. It's a huge gamble as to whether they'll actually arrive in time for Christmas morning.
As I stood in a very long line at the post office on Saturday morning, balancing packages for my niece and nephews, my parents, my brother, my in-laws, I vowed to be better next year. For my own sanity. But I wasn't even thinking that sitting back and remembering God's greatest gift to the world should be a reason for being more prepared. I was thinking about the fact that we were going to be totally late to the Christmas party the kids were invited to because of the insane line of other procrastinators and freaking out about the cost of mailing the packages to (maybe) arrive by December 25.
I finally got it yesterday during our lesson at church. After church, the kids and I cuddled up together and listened to Christmas music together. Not the Kristin Chenoweth or Harry Connick, Jr. albums I've been playing lately, but the Tabernacle Choir and Jenny Oaks Baker and Josh Groban. The rushing around, the stress, the short fuse, the endless lists that must be done now, or else! were gone.
Our home was finally filled with the Christmas spirit.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.