Saturday, December 12, 2020

Gifts of Love Through Personal Sacrifice

 Gifts of Love

The first few years of marriage were poor financially.  Recently graduated from college and a new baby meant meager Christmases and no vacations so when my parents invited us to come up to Washington from Utah, we saved up gas money and made the trek.  My mom taught me to love Christmas and we would all be together again after a number of years.  I knew I couldn’t go empty-handed but we had so little.  What could I give?  Then an idea struck: I can bake.  I’d make cookies.  But not just any cookies, something special and deluxe, something they’d never had before.  Ingredients were relatively inexpensive and a little flour would go a long way.  I found a Christmas Cookie Recipe Magazine that I splurged on for $3.99 and mapped out my work.  One new recipe per family, and lots of it.  

Sacrifice is the Deepest Expression of Love

As Christmas drew nearer I began baking when my baby was asleep and mom’s house had quieted down for the night.  I baked most of the night and into the morning.  The house smelled glorious and platters were filled by Christmas morning with tons of buttery, spiced, and nutty varieties of goodies.  I have five siblings, and of course, my parents, so I ended up making a couple dozen of 6 varieties of goodies. My labor of love was so well received that Christmas morning and the memory of it still brings feelings of satisfaction and joy.  I will cherish the lesson I learned looking back: Sacrifice is the deepest expression of love.  Whenever we sacrifice our time, talents, and energy generously on behalf of others our love for them grows exponentially and our sense of personal purpose and meaning deepen.  The principle of sacrifice is one of those great paradoxes of happiness.

We’ve had both prosperous and lean Christmases since then, but no Christmas passes without those cookies. They’ve become a symbol of love and sacrifice, of growing and sharing talents, of giving what can be given.  This year, I’m sharing one of our favorite recipes with you: Eggnog Cookies!  They are rich buttery, little bites coated in toasted walnuts and finished with creamy frosting and a dash of nutmeg.  They fly off the plate!

Our Family’s Favorite Christmas Recipe: Eggnog Cookies

Are you ready?!  

Let me know if you make them, too!  And don’t forget to share your pics with me!  You can find me on Instagram at the handle: beautifullivingsystems.

Our traditions at Christmas time don’t have to be fancy or expensive.  But they can be, too, and still be a sacrifice--no judging!  It is also true that you can make something beautiful with very little.  What is key is that our gifts are sincere and are an expression of thoughtful, personal sacrifice.  

Another Principle of Sacrifice

In closing, let me share another principle of sacrifice that is powerful and true.  When we sacrifice on behalf of someone else, our love for them deepens.  I think this is why it is natural that mothers have a deep and instant love for their newborn infants--for nine months they’ve given their bodies for that precious creation, not to mention the delivery.  Conversely, when someone sacrifices for you, in a way that’s meaningful to you, your love for them deepens.  In summary, If you want to feel love for someone, sacrifice for them.  When you feel loved, they’ve sacrificed in a way that’s meaningful to you.  This season wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the Savior, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His life so that the demands of justice could be checked by mercy in my life--in all the lives of those who believe Him.  I love Him beyond my capacity to express it.  

As I give of myself to my loved ones in ways that are meaningful to them, our connections deepen. I believe those relationships can be made eternal. Merry Christmas sweet ones!

May you find ways to give freely of yourself--your time, talents, and every other resource you have access to--this season and always.  This is the meaning of BEAUTIFUL LIVING.  So, until I have a chance to drop a note again, find ways to…

...Live Beautifully!

Heather Butler


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