December 5, 2016

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This piece of writing will be short because most people are over-extended in the rush and worry of the Christmas season, which still beats being alone at Christmas no matter how harried we are. This information is no more than a reminder. It’s like a great to-do list because it contains only one two-minute item. I’m offering a reminder to remember what the lists are for at Christmas time.

Christmas lists are not to be like the lists we live on year round, the ones we do to finish a job, get something checked off, make ourselves feel like achievers, or to get something over and out of the way. Those kinds of lists we use to get beyond something, to end something, and rest after it is over. Christmas is what we wish to get to, hopefully not get out of the way. It is about joining together around the birth of our Savior. I don’t want to get that over with.

This may sound crazy, but the song, “It’s a Small World”, has a stanza in it that can help us remember the purpose of our Christmas lists. The song is the one played over and over again at the Disney parks on the ride by the same name. The ride shows children from all over the world in their native places and customs. At the end of the ride, while the song is still being repeated, all the children from around the world share the song and their lives with each other. The song overwhelms adults with its monotony and delights little children in its simplicity. One important stanza stands out amidst the constant repetition like a gem among piles of sameness. It goes as follows:

It’s a world of laughter and a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share, that it’s
Time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all.

The truth in that stanza is true everywhere, in everyone, all the time, whether we deny it or not. Our Christmas lists can be used to distract us from the tears and the fears; in our distraction we might also miss the hopes and the laughter. We are made to share it all. The world is made small by how much alike we actually are, living in a life in which what we wish to occur and what we don’t want to face and feel is going on all the time. By sharing we remove ourselves from the lists of getting stuff out of the way; we remember to look at the Christmas lights we put on our own houses, sit and rest before our own Christmas trees, and offer ourselves to caring for others as we are aware of “so much that we share.” When we do so, we remember the real reason we made the lists at Christmas—to do something good for others because we care, even for those who might be alone this Christmas. They can, then, fit on the list, too. Our Christmas lists become love lists this way.