Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home of the Year

As I sit and look around me, I can’t help but see the dust covering the shelves. Darn, I meant to get to that. The dishes, though not stacked nearly as tall in the sink as they were when I went to work yesterday (that would be thanks to my finely trained husband) are still in need of a good washing. Oops, meant to get that done too. And the laundry… well, we won’t even go there, since it’s well hidden in the basement and no one needs to know of its condition except those of us who are trying earnestly to tackle it. (That too is on my to-do list)

By the description of my home, you can tell, it’s not the kind of home you’ll see in Better Homes and Gardens. Sure, I wish I had more time for better upkeep. It really is a bigger priority than I make it sound, but there are some nights I lay my head just happy in the thought that at least it’s clean enough that it’s reasonably straight and we don’t live in filth.

Still, isn’t it every woman’s dream to live in a spic and span home? I feel like I grew up in one, if memory serves me right.

But would I really like to live in the perfect model home? Hmmmm…. I’d have to think on that. On the one hand I would instantly say yes. As I mentioned, my mother was a brilliant housekeeper and there are times I wonder if she looks down on me and shakes her head in disappointment if I go too many days without running the vacuum around.

On the other hand, I may not get the Home of the Year award sponsored by some well known magazine, but I sure love that feeling of coming home; to my home, my comfortable home.

There are no classic works of art, but there are pictures of Christ and the Temples, and there are my family’s pictures hanging which reminds me of all that I love and all that are important to me.

Sure, I may look at magazines and dream of those clean spotless homes. But they never look lived in. They don’t look loved in. They aren’t homey and comfortable. I think I’ll stick with the one I have. After all, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

The past several months, I’ve had to work far too many hours. I was away from home way too much and too many things were neglected from the home front. I’m not just talking about housekeeping, but I felt I wasn’t doing enough in regards to my family. My husband really had to step in and pick up wherever I couldn’t.

But I had the luxury of spending a few days at home over the Christmas holiday. I had a sense of renewal. It was so wonderful to be home. There is no place I would rather be. I crave more of it.

To me, I don’t need a magazine to tell me what it takes to make a “Home of the Year.” My heart knows what it takes. I believe I have one. I couldn’t feel more grateful for that.

In the coming year, I vow to spend as much time there as I possibly can. (Then maybe while I am there I can do something about those dishes, clothes, and dust bunnies. I’m actually looking forward to it!) :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh Holy Night, Indeed!

As a family we have started a new tradition in our home. On the first week of each December a stake in a nearby city puts on a live Nativity for all to come and see. It is spectacular.

As the night falls, you come upon the Prophet Isaiah writing on scrolls. His prophesies of the Savior who will come unto the world is foretold as well as the Savior‘s mission on the earth is read to all who will listen to the Prophet of old.. As you listen to his visions and prophesies, soon you hear the scriptural account of the days leading up to the Christ child’s birth. Waiting in line, it is a powerful reminder of all that has come to pass and all the promises that will be fulfilled. What a wonderful reminder of what that means to each of us in our lives.

Then as you walk along, you see the Shepherds out in the field (with their live sheep around them) watching their flock by night who first see the star and the wise men walking toward the star shining in the sky. Was it just me or was there one particular star shining extra bright for us that clear cold Monday night????

There were cattle, goats, and even a large (live!) camel was there to greet us as we all walked towards Bethlehem. Many people walked among us in robes suited for that era. Children walked with parents, elderly walked with their staffs in tow. We felt we had gone back in time. All around us sounds could be heard of people walking toward Bethlehem -- to the land of their inheritance.

Once we arrived in Bethlehem, we were met by a soldier who expected us to pay our taxes, and a man who--off to the side stood weighing in coins of every shape and size---which were the taxes paid--- before we were to enter.

Once were allowed entrance into Bethlehem, there were peddlers trying to sell and barter their trade. Women were weaving baskets and grinding wheat stalks into grain. Men carved from logs with tools while others sold vegetables and fruit from crates and stalls. Even a leper was shunned from public begging for a morsel from any merciful passerby.

We continued to walk through the “dirt road” of Bethlehem and saw women gathering water at a well with a rooster perched on top watching us with his steady gaze and even came upon an Inn keeper sending everyone away for there was no room at the Inn.. So much to see, and even more to learn yet no one spoke to us, but rather let us take it all in by observing what was happening at that time. No one spoke a word. No one needed to. The only words spoken were that of the Inn Keeper. It was enough, for then in the darkened city, around the corner not too far from a stall of a donkey, a light shone ever so clear. It was then we heard the sweetest sound we could have heard.

A newborn baby started to cry.

We came upon the only quiet, warm, corner of the barn in the small town of Bethlehem. The parents of the baby Jesus were kneeling beside the newborn baby trying to comfort him. It was an incredible sight to see a real newborn baby wrapped up in soft blankets in the barn on that freezing cold snowy night. It took our breath away.

As we left the barn, a woman dressed in robes whispered to us ever so softly, “Merry Christmas,.” She had tears in her eyes and so did we.

As we got into our car to leave, the song, “Oh Holy Night” was playing on the radio. What a beautiful ending to our beautiful night.

Of course there are so many reasons I love Christmas, but is it any wonder that seeing and hearing the story of the birth of our Savior brings with it a renewed sense of hope and love to all the world?

That night, being a spectator of the Nativity, brought a new vision of the Christmas story for me. I hope and pray that I will not lose the feelings I had in my heart as I witnessed the scene before me.

It was a witness to me of the accounts that happened so very long ago. It was an experience testified ever so strongly of the miracles and blessings that would come because of the humble beginnings of that wondrous night so long ago because of that sweet little baby that laid quietly crying in a manger.

Indeed, what a Holy Night it was.