And now we arrive at my absolute favorite tradition.
A phrase I hear often this time of year is “New Year, New You!” I love setting goals and making charts. However, my New Year’s resolutions are often forgotten about….oh the end of January. It’s hard to stick with it. Especially when it involves exercise and dieting.
My mom each Christmas would pass us a slip of paper and ask, “What gift will you give to Christ this year?” She would offer suggestions like, “Maybe you can be nicer to your sister, or remember to say your prayers every morning”, and I thought, “Now that doesn’t sound like a very fun gift”. But that is exactly the kind of gift Christ wants from us.
Jesus Christ wants us to change. He loves us and wants us to grow and be better. Like a parent watching their child reach new milestones, His joy comes from watching us succeed.
That slip of paper where I wrote my gift was collected up with the others in my family, and Mom would place them in a special box. That box would sit on the shelf all year, where we would be sure to see it often.
But this tradition became even more special on Easter mornings! We would eagerly gather, and Mom would take the box down. We would talk about the story of Easter, and how Jesus Christ overcame death. And just as the tomb was opened on Easter, we would open the box, and each read the gift that we had promised to give Christ to see how we had done. And in the Spirit of Easter, we had a new energy to do better and give more.
Some years, I would think of saying better prayers or reading my scriptures more often. Other times, I would promise to take care of my body by eating healthier. And this year, I promised to start volunteering at the hospital. The thing is, it can be anything! A goal that you want to achieve is something Christ wants you to achieve too, and will help you to do it.
As the Christmas season comes to a close, it is time to look forward to a new year! During all of December we think of the Savior, trying to be like Him and spread “Christmas cheer” to our family, friends, and neighbors. We sing about Him, and read about His life, and watch presentations of His birth. And then a few days later the year ends. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the new year comes so soon after Christmas time!
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”
This year, instead of doing just a New Year’s resolution, give a gift to Christ, and let Him help you be the best you that you can be. “New Year, New You…Best Year, BEST You!”