Life is always about choices and priorities, but this time of year most A-lists are too long, and as we get closer to the holiday we sometimes have to prioritize just to make it through. If you haven't sent your cards yet or done some shopping, that list can be burdensome.

Besides that, we are all looking for our Christmas moments sandwiched between the hustle and bustle, so we need to remain flexible enough to find them. And we must be aware that others are starting to get excited and frazzled right along with you and me, especially the children, so we need to pray for a bit more understanding and patience.

Witty columnist Katharine Whitehorn surmised that, "From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it."

In fact, it was invented. Take the holiday music with references to snow and sleigh bells ringing. They have no bearing as to the circumstances of the Christ child's birth in Bethlehem — the snow would have melted and camel bells would be more like it.

It was the Victorians who really learned the art of "keeping Christmas" by trying to outdo the next person at decorating and such. It shouldn't be necessary for us to race to keep up with those age-old traditions, but we all seem to follow in line.

So pat yourself on the back for sitting a moment to read my musings, allowing you an opportunity to rest a bit. Somehow each year, everything seems to get done or we find that the things we didn't get to really didn't matter anyway.

Bet you've got a Christmas party this weekend. They start right after Thanksgiving. But the social calendars for many of us clear by the middle of the month with the idea of getting all the parties over with, which is kind of a social oxymoron.

Nearing the holiday, when we should really be starting to get into the spirit of Christmas, we keep our calendar open, which has its positive and negatives. A good Christmas party can help us get into the spirit of it all, but having time at home to make gingerbread houses with kids or grandkids can do the same.

Last year, my side of the family didn't get organized for a Christmas party until two weeks before the big day. Turned out to be good procrastination as we were able to plan a fun family party at the Heber ice rink just before Christmas. My mother, Mary Steed, at 87 years young, was the reigning matriarch of the family. The gathering gets large when her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren get together.

It was the perfect place for us to meet halfway between families. No one had worried about it for months, everyone brought food, the kids got some of their wiggles worn down on the skating rink, everyone helped clean up, and no one's house was trashed. All my siblings and most of their families were able to attend, so there was a good turnout of cousins of all ages for an excellent last-minute holiday party. The spontaneity made it more rewarding.

English writer Evelyn Underhill traveled a path from being an agnostic to having a great sense of spirituality. She wrote at one time, "I do hope your Christmas has had a little touch of Eternity in among the rush and pitter-patter and all. It always seems such a mixing of this world and the next — but that after all is the idea!"

That seems to be good thinking. We are mortals trying to experience a sense of immortality, and at Christmastime there are moments when we are touched by the knowledge and reality of the Savior's birth. May you keep a sense of perspective and find those moments sandwiched between the fa-la-la and the glitter.

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