I received this in the mail this week....along with a special note from my Mom.
I had mentioned to her how much I loved this nativity that she painted years ago and how I was hoping to find one similar to it, because it reminds me of my children.
So she gave it to me.
Notice how the figures are children dressed up for a Christmas pageant! So sweet.
I know that my mom spent a lot of time making these, and my dad cut the wood out for her. So there's a piece of themselves in this nativity. That and the memory of seeing it displayed in the home that I grew up in makes it special to me.
In her note to me, my mom talked about the act of letting go of the things that we collect in this life...in preparation to one day leave it all behind in order to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.
As she talked about learning to let go of "things," I realized that she was talking about leaving actual "stuff" behind, but my heart thought instead about how it is necessary for us to leave more than just "things" behind in preparation to meet our Maker. We must leave behind hurts, worries, grudges, and misgivings as well in preparation to return to our Heavenly Home.
Neither one is easy to do.
In our family growing up, we didn't have a ton of things...but what we did have, we cherished. We cherished our home...the same modest home that I was born and raised in, the same home that I left for college from...and even returned to after college for a few weeks.
We cherished the old but beautiful piano that over-ran the living room. We cherished the kitchen table that was never elegant, but always welcoming. We cherished these things because of the people who either made them, gifted them, or used them in our family.
I remember the stories that my grandparents and parents told about the people in our family who were associated with these items. And I cherish those stories too.
As children we are taught to hold onto things. We hold on to our mothers, our special soft blankets, our toys. We are instructed to retain information such as language, fine motor skills, and nuance.
And yet the most important nuance for us to cultivate in this life is the art of knowing what to hold onto and what to let go of...a skill that children seem to know instinctively, but as adults, we must learn again and again.
Thankfully, there is someone patient and all-knowing enough to walk us through this process of leaving things behind, in a world where, as my Dad says, "Men are born to die."
He is our Savior, Jesus Christ, the one who came to earth knowing better than anyone that he was born to die and live again...He is the reason why we celebrate during this season of wonder and the real and true hope of all men.
During Christmas-time, we often focus on giving to others, but with this gift from my Mother, I am reminded of the one gift that we can receive from no one else but the Savior, and that is the power to let things go and leave them permanently behind.
What do you have the power to let go of this Christmas season?