This Christmas season has been full of change for me. It is the first Christmas not being a 'kid' — which has hit me far more than I thought it would. It's been different realizing that I'm an adult now and that when this vacation is over, I won't be going home with my parents but going back to my own life. Also, at this point, every Christmas looks a little bit different. Traditions start to form into new ones, and with all the good new things coming there is a little bit of grief at the ending of past moments that were so sweet. As you get older, the exhilaration of rushing down the stairs and seeing what Santa brought you beings to fade, but in its place becomes a deeper and fuller understanding of what the true gift of Christmas is. In all the change there is so much good. But it can be hard to say goodbye to things that you feel that maybe you didn't appreciate in the moment as much as you should have.
However, in all the bittersweet emotions of the holidays, I thought of Mary. Her life was drastically changing. She just gave birth to a baby in a stable — a place I'm sure she didn't imagine having the Lord's child. And in her most vulnerable time, after giving birth, there were strange shepherds coming in to see her. She was exposed and confused. Yet, in all the changes going around her, Mary was wise enough to treasure all those things up in her heart and keep them there to ponder and store. I think we can all learn a thing or two from Mary.
Change is inevitable, and it's not a bad thing — with change comes growth and some traditions that just might be better than the old ones. But hold on to the present and treasure up the moments around you — store them in your heart and hold on to them. Remember that this season is not really about gifts or what you watch and it's honestly not about family. It's about our Savior and the personal reality of experiencing his unconditional love and sacrifice on our behalf. That is the true treasure and the one thing that every year, every day, and every moment withstands all changes.