Day in and day out can be hard. We get batted around by life and sometimes feel conquered by it.
A few weeks ago I lugged myself to church, numb to the clock reading 15 minutes late…what was new? I acknowledged the tender mercy of Jack cuddling and being still on my lap – so much so that we wondered if he was coming down with something.
On our way to class, on a day I was feeling empty and anti-social, I felt grateful that my husband stopped to talk to a friend whose little girl is going through chemotherapy. I was grateful as we passed the nursery for the amazing willingness of the volunteers who sacrifice their opportunity to attend a class to allow someone else the chance. And, I was grateful it wasn’t me.
I was grateful that my husband and I both have assignments that allow us to be together for Sunday school where we can hold hands and sit on the soft seats or shrug and sit on the hard seats instead. I was grateful for teachers who direct the lessons to Jesus Christ – not themselves.
After Sunday school I stayed in my chair waiting for the last meeting to start. I sat alone, too weary to busy myself with getting a drink or running to the bathroom to avoid feeling lonely. A friend I lightly know beamed a smile and came over and sat next to me. She visited with me and I was grateful for her.
The teacher had us read Luke 7:37-50. This is the story of the woman who came to Jesus and washed His feet with her tears. We are tempted to stop there, huh? Oh, yeah, yeah I know that story. If you have a minute, read it. See what stands out to you. I did that day and it was her tears that stood out to me.
In the past I don’t know that I’ve considered why she was crying but then, in my own teary state I wondered. Was it out of reverence and awe or did she bring her tears with her? I believed it was both.
I started to feel a connection to this woman. Yes, she brought the alabaster box of ointment, but was that all? What was her plan? I don’t know that she knew. She did know that the oil was special and she knew she needed to see Jesus.
In His presence she realized she could do more than hand him the ointment as a gift. In His presence she could see more clearly, more simply. She didn’t wait for circumstances to be more ideal. She didn’t wait for the crowd to disperse. She didn’t wait to find clean water and a rag. She went as she was and offered what she could.”These tears will suffice as water, my hair can scrub His feet,” she realized. At this moment her gift was complete. Her gift changed from physical to personal.
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit 3 Nephi 9:20.
That’s what was happening that day at church. The stop in the hall, the Christ-like nursery volunteers, the friend who sat by my side. I wasn’t in need of a physical gift that day and it wasn’t a physical gift that healed me.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Mathew 25:40
The woman with her tears came as she was and was healed. I came as empty as I was and was healed – not instantly but healed nonetheless. All these people by serving their savior helped me feel the spirit of Christ.
Right now is when we hope to feel the spirit of Christ especially so, only we call it the Christmas spirit. I think Dr. Seuss’s must have been Christian. He got it. What was it he said? “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags… What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
The woman with the alabaster box knew that. The wise men knew that. Yes, frankincense, gold, and myrrh, were some of the nicest gifts to be found. But, do you remember how long it took them to travel? They devoted personal gifts of significant time to journey to the Savior.
“As we contemplate how we’re going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season, let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others”President Monson.
The true spirit of Christmas was brought into my life that ordinary Sunday when ordinary people were serving others because they loved Him, and it affected me. My healing that day didn’t come from a store. It came from personal gifts meaning a little bit more.