family fun

Christmas: Embracing the Spirit of Love This Holiday Season

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My 11-year-old son told me yesterday that he didn't get the meaning of Christmas. What? Have I failed as a parent.

Mary and Joseph-Nativity

We are Christians and are regular church goers. How could he, in all of his 11 years, have missed out on the meaning of Christmas?

Salt Lake City-LDS Temple-LDS Temple Square-Utah-Mormons

He has never gotten into gifts. Presents don't mean much to him. It's not that he's not grateful when he does receive gifts, but if it were up to him, we'd do away with this particular tradition.

He has always embraced the notion that it's better to give than receive, so emphasizing that during December (more than any other month) has made him scratch his head and ask why.

To confuse him even more, he learned that Christ may have really been born in the Spring instead of on December 25. He questioned, "Why would we be celebrating Christ's birthday in December if his birthday is possibly not in December?"

This entire conversation was taking place as the choir was singing beautiful Christmas songs at church no less.

Then, a friend from our congregation got up to speak. And in the middle of her talk about the meaning of Christmas, she shared some stories about ways to give to others that had nothing to do with gifts. She encouraged everyone to drop the last syllable from Christmas and focus instead on the spirit of Christ. My son turned to me and said, "Oh! I get it! It doesn't really matter if we celebrate His birthday when it's REALLY his birthday. And it doesn't matter if we get gifts. All that matters is that we have the spirit of Christ in our hearts all year long!"

Whether it takes us til we are 11 or 111, I hope we can all, regardless of our religious backgrounds, embrace the spirit of kindness, peace, joy, and love... all the qualities that Christ promoted and exemplified... during this holiday season.

Mom It Forward Holiday Card 2012

Have a wonderful holiday season!

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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