Thinking About all the Parents

 I tend to think a lot about parents as Christmas approaches. About being a parent, about my parents, about my parents-in-law that I never really got to know, but still feel like I know.

But mostly, about the Father of us all. And the unthinkable gift he gave us because he loved us that much.

Christmas time seems to be a time of deeper feeling. Deeper sadness for some, or loneliness. Or a deeper feeling of gratitude, or of deeper love and affection for those we care for. There is something about this time of year that seems to magnify and intensify - a gift of the season that we receive sometimes unknowingly. I think it's because Christmas is a celebration of the beginning of the most important thing that has ever happened EVER in the entire history of the universe.

Salvation was created. Humbly. The greatest King the world would ever know. Born in a cave full of smelly animals, resting in their feeding trough. Not an ideal place to have a baby; but it could not have been more perfect - this Man who would show us all the Way, to be born in such lowly circumstances, making Him accessible to every single one of us - from the mighty King who offered up all his sins just to know Him to the ostracized woman who wanted simply to touch His garment. This thing that people had been waiting for, watching for, praying for their entire lives. This thing that was so huge, yet happened in a way so small.

And tender.

Father in Heaven had to let Him go. Had to say, Okay. I am going to send my Only Begotten - my precious boy - to a life of relentless trial and suffering. There would be great joy, He knew, but there would also be agony. There would be Gethsemane. There would be a cross.

He knew this. They both knew this. But they did it anyway.

Because of love.

That is what it means to give a gift.

That is what it means to be a parent.


I think a lot this time of year of my own parents and the great gifts of sacrifice they gave for me and my sisters. The magnitude of what it means to be a parent is something that I'm learning as I have my own children and recognize the pure and oh-so powerful love behind each gesture of sacrifice and of giving - something I had no capacity to recognize as the child receiving.

My dad spending countless hours trying to teach me Long Division - ever patient, kindly spoken, yet determined. I would get it, or we would both die trying (and I'm not convinced we didn't come close)!

My mom who managed to keep an organized and clean home with meals on the table every night in the hours that surrounded her full time (and then some) job. This is something I marvel at, now, as I am a stay-at-home mother and still can't manage to keep an organized home with a meal on the table each night. How tired she must have been. How desperately she must have wanted a break - just a small portion of her day spent taking care of everyone and everything else - just a chance to put her feet up or have a moment of quiet reflection or - heaven forbid - use the bathroom without someone knocking on the door, pulling on her skirt, calling on the phone demanding one more thing from her for the LOVE!

I think of my sweet mother-in-law whom I never knew in life, but come to know more and more as i watch her influence on my husband and his siblings, and think, 'That must have been something of Martha." The imprint of her influence is strong in them. The gift of a Mother who could not remain in body, but absolutely still remains.

I think of my wonderful father-in-law who spent his entire life taking care of everyone else. What a noble life. What a noble cause.

What a noble calling.

It is very tender, to me, to reflect on parents as we celebrate the biggest sacrifice - and the greatest of gifts - that Parents have ever given and that we could ever receive.

Knowing the incredible love I feel for my children, and the increasing understanding of the love my parents feel for me makes the Gift of Christ's Birth feel so much more personal - and the relationship I have with my heavenly Father feel so much more immediate and real.

It was His Christmas Present just for me.

And it was just for you, too.

I hope I can use this life to give Him something really great in return.


Grandpa Rusty said...

I'm so delighted you're posting again. I really missed the regular posts.

And these are wonderful thoughts. I must admit at Christmas time I spend my time flipping back and forth between the wonder of the Savior's birth and the heavenly parents that allowed it, and the fun of giving to my loved ones.

Best season of the year.