At this time of year, we find ourselves participating in traditions with our families. As a child, I cherished our family traditions, to the point where I probably annoyed my parents with my demands that we do all the special activities we did last year. As a young adult, I made lists of traditions I hoped to build with my future family. And now, as a tired mom of three in her thirties, sometimes I feel like I’m limping through the holidays, trying to make sure everyone feels the magic of the season while adding a million yuletide tasks to my already lengthy to-do list.
Regardless of how we celebrate and bond with our loved ones at this time of year, Elder Pino reminds us that “edifying customs and traditions are fundamental to our efforts to stay on the covenant path, and those that are an obstacle, we ought to reject.” Certain customs and traditions are essential to keeping us close to the Savior, whether at Christmas or throughout the year. Elder Pino lists scripture study, prayer, sacrament meeting attendance, and temple and family history work as crucial habits to incorporate into our lives.
Other habits and routines may distract us from our relationship with God and others around us. When I take stock of how I spend my time, I find myself wondering which habits need to be changed. Many of us don’t struggle with traditions that go explicitly against the commandments, but we have a tendency to slide away from the traditions that bring us in closer relationship to our Savior. Sometimes we’re so tired out or overstimulated from the demands of daily life—or a season of busyness and celebration—that we don’t cultivate our faith on a daily basis.
This season can be one of overwhelm—I already feel it chasing at my heels. But we can choose to make it one of connection, peace, and faith with some boundaries and intention.
Make a list of your priorities this holiday season. Are you making time for the four habits Elder Pino lists in his talk? Don’t be afraid to cut out traditions that leave you exhausted or don’t add to the connection, peace, and faith of a Christ-centered Christmas.
I am intentional with the routines and traditions we welcome into our family. I make space for the ones that bring joy, togetherness, and a closeness to our Savior.