I'm going to give you a bit of warning. This post has the potential to enter some cheese. I'm struggling to find a way to say what I want to say that doesn't come across as overly sentimental or over reaching for profoundness. We'll see how it works out.
Tonight we all gathered with some family friends to enjoy dinner and talking and singing carols among other things. It was wonderful. My extended family includes so many wonderful people I'm not related to by blood. Looking around at everyone, I felt very blessed to have all of my family healthy and safe and happy this time of year. Especially because of what happened later tonight after we had finished eating dinner. We got word that a family in our stake discovered that their little baby has leukemia this afternoon and had to drive to a hospital a few hours away that is better equipped to treat him in an ambulance. Their boy is about three - things aren't really looking good.
What a contrast to my Christmas Eve. I made it safely home while thousands of people are stranded in airports all over the country because of horrible weather. I have family and friends that are safe and happy and well. I will wake up tomorrow morning and spend the day in my pajamas while this family spends their day in a hospital - if things go well. That just kills me. It makes me feel so sick.
I'm not sure how this next thought connects, but bear with me. One of my favorite Christmas songs is "What Child is This". The tune is haunting because of the major/minor chord shifts, but I'm not up on music theory so I'm not going to get into it. Really, there are only a few versions of this song I really appreciate because (unfortunately) in most versions of the song, the artists cut out the second and third chorus and just sing the first one three times. As far as Christmas songs go, that's the one that sums up the whole Christmas message to me. It's a study of the life of the Savior, really. The words tell of his birth and crucifixion - and end with a mother singing her baby a lullaby. The single most important event that ever occurred in the history of the earth - and it's contrasted with this image of a mother putting her baby to sleep. It's beautiful. It's a child and a mother together on Christmas. It happens all over the globe every year.
I suppose, then, this is my way of wishing all of you (wherever you are, and if there even are any of you) a Merry Christmas. I hope that your families are safe and well, and I hope that the spirit of the Savior will be with you.
(See? I told you it would be cheesy.)