Saturday, December 26, 2009
I recently read an article in a newsletter written by Glenn Beck in which he referred to the three holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's as "the big holiday trilogy," which is a time of preparation for the "renewal of Easter." I previously considered the three holidays to be separate and distinct from each other with only Christmas being related to Easter. Glenn's idea of the holidays being connected and all part of a whole gives the sense of some kind of divine plan or something. I always considered Thanksgiving to be a time to express gratitude, a special day to count my many blessings, one of which is family. Glenn considers Thanksgiving to be "a time to look forward to spending [time] with family, a wonderful `excuse' to gather together and remind ourselves that our families are the foundation upon which we build our lives. Our families are what enable us to be the very best version of ourselves, and for that we should give thanks." This idea would put family as the top item on a list of blessings. Do we really consider family to be the "foundation" of our lives? Christmas comes next. I always - at least after I got past the what-am-I-going-to-get stage - considered Christmas to be a time of love. Heavenly Father loved His children so much that He sent His Son to earth on a mission to save all of His other children. Jesus Christ loved Heavenly Father and all of His Father's children so much that He accepted and fulfilled that mission. We celebrate the birth of the Son because we love Him as well as the Father. We give gifts to our family and friends because we love them. Glenn considers Christmas to be "a transformative gift of redemption - a wonderful present we've all been given and once we open it, we finally understand how fulfilling and rich our lives can truly be." Does this idea of redemption make the love of Christmas much fuller and more abundant for you? New Year's is third. This holiday often meant the end of the Christmas season - the time that the children go back to school, adult children leave for college, and family members return to their homes. It also meant a time to set goals for self-improvement. Glenn considers New Year's to be "a clean page, a fresh start and a new beginning filled with endless possibilities." Is New Year's a new beginning and a fresh start for you? Glenn's idea has helped me to see the connection between family being the foundation for our lives, redemption made possible by love, and an opportunity to start over. I now understand better how the three holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's prepare us to celebrate the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter.