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Christmas Stress
By doanair
1/3/2007 11:02:36 AM
I was having a hard time feeling the Christmas spirit up until Christmas Eve day. I had the week before Christmas off from work and my wife and I seemed to spend it working our tails off and going insane. I felt like I was not in the right mood. Although we did some very nice things for a lot of people, I could not be calm and listen to the spirit and feel the importance of the holiday. I just kept fluctuating between some good feelings here and there to stress and feeling overwhelmed.

Then, on Christmas Eve, our bishop got up after the Christmas program and spoke. He asked us if we were too busy to stop and feel the how special this time of year is... He asked if our children saw us stressed out, frazzled and upset or did they see us quiet, contemplative and focused on the Savior. That hit me pretty hard because he seemed to talk right to me. He knew how I was feeling. He knew I had not slowed things down enough to feel the Spirit.

So, after that talk and for the rest of the next two days, I tried and things really changed for me. That night, our little family had a special dinner together and I really felt like I was finally doing what I should have been doing. Christmas Day ended-up being a great day for our family.

Now, I hope I can carry this over to next year some how. Also, I hope I can somehow teach my kids how to let go of the stress and worry and focus on the peace and special nature of Christ's birth.

This whole experience has confirmed to me how well Satan has deceived me into commercialism and worldliness instead of worship, faith and honor to the Savior. The world tells me to glut on things, load up on what's cool and neat and deal with the financial consequences later. The Lord tells me to let go of all that and focus on celebrating the Savior's birth. To make him proud of the way I honor him.

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"I will speak briefly of the principle of repentance. How grateful I am for the understanding we have of this great principle. It is not a harsh principle, as I thought when I was a boy. It is kind and merciful. The Hebrew root of the word means, simply, "to turn," or to return, to God. Jehovah pled with the children of Israel: "Return . . . and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful . . . and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God." When we acknowledge our sins, confess them and forsake them, and turn to God, He will forgive us."

— Richard G. Hinckley

General Conference April 2006