Wednesday, December 11, 2019

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: A Good - Better - Best Christmas


"Just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. Other choices are better, and still others are best. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives." Dallin H. Oaks  


Is it just me, or do you also find that each year the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems shorter and shorter, while the list of things to be done grows longer and longer?  

When time, money, or other resources are at a premium (as they always seem to be at this time of year) how can we make the smartest choices? When I feel in a pinch, I turn back to the "good/better/best" principle taught by my law school will-and-trust professor, Dallin H. Oaks (who was the co-author of the multi-volume treatise Bogart & Oaks on Trusts, and also the president of the university).

According to President/Professor Oaks, just because something is "good" is not a sufficient reason for doing it. There are simply too many good choices, he says, for us to jump at the first one that pops up. Instead, we should be asking, "Is there something better than good?" or "What is the best outcome in this situation?"

This good/better/best approach can help us sort out all the choices that demand our attention during this blessed yet busy time of year. That means we can still do good things, but we must be mindful as to whether the "good" is preventing us from enjoying "better" and "best" opportunities.

Using this decision-making framework, what is an example of a "good" Christmas activity? For me, a "good" Christmas would be finding and giving the perfect gift to a person I love - something that pushes all their buttons. It's great when it includes an element of surprise; they are totally not expecting that! When I find such a treasure, I love wrapping it and looking forward to their delight and excitement as they tear open the brightly-colored paper on Christmas morning. Yes, giving wonderful presents makes for a very good Christmas!    


What would be a "better" Christmas? When I picture "better," I envision a season of togetherness and love with family and friends - an opportunity to hang out and talk and tell stories and catch up on everybody's hectic lives. Enjoying all that glorious food! Simply BEING TOGETHER after all the hustle and bustle, the decorating, the traveling, the cooking, the busy-ness of the holidays. Gifts are wonderful, but they pale in comparison to sweet fellowship with family and friends.


If perfect presents and family togetherness are "good" and "better," what's "best"? In my experience, "best" has to do with remembering the reason for the season. It means celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in ways that transform a holiday into a Holy Day. How can we do that? Here are five ideas:


We can start by focusing on the coming of the Christ Child as we read the scriptures and recount the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem . . .


We can seek for a "best" Christmas by worshipping together the Father of us all, the Supreme Giver of the incomparable gift of His Only Begotten Son, sent to earth to love us and to save us . . .   


We can uplift our Christmas season by singing the hymns and carols of Christmas, echoing those angelic choirs of long ago who wished upon the humble shepherds the blessing of peace on earth and good will to all . . .


Nothing tops the importance of finding meaningful ways to serve others from our hearts and our own abundance, being truly Christ-like in our care for those  in need . . .   


Finally, we can spend time praying and meditating reverently and silently, pondering the wonder and miracle of the Babe of Bethlehem, considering the deeper meaning and purpose of His birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection . . .

By reading the scriptures, worshipping together, singing sacred carols, serving in Christ-like ways, and praying and meditating about the true meaning of the birth of Christ, we can celebrate Christmas as a Holy Day.  

We can honor the Savior and Redeemer of Mankind on this greatest of all days, set aside to remember Him, the Greatest Gift of All Time. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3: 16.  

To me, that's Christmas at its "BEST."

My prayer is that each of you will thoughtfully and purposefully choose those things that will make this Christmas "good," "better," and "best" for you and those you love.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Farnsworth Family and all of us at SunBridge and Will & Trust Express.