I had a thought today in church. Since I was juggling a wriggling, squawking baby who wanted nothing more than to fall to the floor and crawl through the pews at lightning speed, it's a wonder that I could think anything at all.
But I did have a thought today.
I was trying to look over my lurching child's head at the podium. There were potted poinsettias on either side of the microphone and a youth speaker, the daughter of my visiting teaching companion, was beginning her remarks. She was addressing the topic of gratitude.
"I thought gratitude was an appropriate topic, since this is the holiday season," she began. And although that was only an opening comment, it sent my brain on a tailspin that occupied it for the remainder of her talk.
I thought about why gratitude would be particularly pertinent during the holidays. And in pondering that, I thought about how people are so much more Christian at Christmas.
I thought about the spirit of giving and gratitude that infuses our nation with new life. I thought about the charities that spring up on street corners, confident that people will be willing to share more of their time and money. I thought about the families that make a special effort to go to church, or read the scriptures, or pray. I thought about our desire to beautify our surroundings at Christmas and our increased willingness to forgive.
I thought about the changes Christmas affects in me: how I want to smile and say "hello" to everyone I pass on the street, how I want to show special attention to my family and friends, how I want to share the rich things of life with strangers.
And then I thought of other times when a similar change has been wrought upon me or upon the world. I thought of how that enthusiasm for giving and that fierce faith and optimism is rarely ushered in without tragedy. Our stories of faith, hope, and charity seem to be most concentrated in one of two times: Christmas or following a large-scale disaster.
How extraordinary! It usually takes drastic measures for God to rekindle the faith of His people. But His spirit touches us even in our wealth and security at Christmas-time.
I was thinking about this while Soren was peeing in my lap. I was still marveling while I changed his diaper (and clothes) in the mother's room. There is such power in this season. For those who believe, it is the power of a love that can change the world.
Oh how grateful I am for Christmas-time! Today it seemed to me a divinely appointed season, a chance to remember the Savior as He commanded without being compelled by tragedy.