The First Presidency Message this month was about children. I really liked the article--it had me hooked in the very first paragraph. President Hinckley says:
Once when our grandchildren were small, my wife and I took some of them to the circus. I recall that I was more interested in watching them and many others of their kind than in watching the man on the flying trapeze. I looked at them in wonder as they alternately laughed and stared wide-eyed at the exciting things before them. And I thought of the miracle of children who become the world's constant renewal of life and purpose.
I think I know exactly how he feels. This Christmas has been so exciting for me already because my focus has entirely changed.
The last few Christmases seemed to have been less magical than in the past. I was a selfish, cynical teenager. I had stopped believing in Santa and there were few presents that could thrill me. It's not that I didn't enjoy Christmas. I still enjoyed Christmas carols, and focusing on the Savior, but Christmas had really lost some of its magic for me. It was probably being selfish that caused that.
Our first two Christmases together as a couple were fun. We made up little stockings for each other and bought each other gifts, but still there was something missing.
Now that we have Rachel, I feel that "renewal of life and purpose." All of a sudden everything is new again as I watch her take things in for the first time. I love how her eyes get transfixed on the Christmas lights. I love how she wants to get under the Christmas tree so badly. I love thinking about how baby Jesus was a baby just like my own baby. I love everything about Christmas this year! Even the snow is fun...Rachel laughs whenever we take her outside and she feels the cold air.
I want to do cute crafts again, I want to find the perfect gifts for her, I want to have fun as a family...and she's not even going to remember any of this! But at least we'll develop some cool family traditions. I hear it just gets more exciting every year once children start to figure out who Santa is and why we put the big tree up in the living room.
Watching children get excited about things is so rewarding. I'm so excited to raise Rachel now!
We've been so nervous, as a couple, about raising her. We pray everyday that we can know how to do that the best way. This article was a fantastic answer to prayer! It was basically a whole bunch of parenting tips from President Hinckley and definitely something I needed to read. By no means do I think it answers all of our parenting questions, but it certainly has helped answer a lot of them!
I love that we have Rachel in our home. She brings such a spirit of love and joy into our lives. Not only do we love her with all our heart and soul, our love for each other has increased as well. Families are so important. Sometimes I wonder what Heavenly Father could possibly be thinking, sending an innocent child to be raised by people as imperfect and inexperienced as we are...but I know it's part of his plan for us. We've grown in so many ways since she's joined our family--and I think I have a deeper understanding of His love for all of His children, including myself.
Christmas is definitely more magical, more thrilling, more spiritual, more deeply moving for me this year than it ever has been in the past. I'm looking forward to each and every day between now and Christmas.