I had an experience this week that kinda shocked me. We have a tradition to do “12 Days of Christmas” for a few people each year, and I really wanted a small nativity to use as one of the gifts. So I went shopping in my little town to find a small, inexpensive nativity set. To my surprise, I could not find a nativity anywhere! Not even an ornament depicting the nativity scene! I ended up going to 5 different stores (that I am sure have had them in the past!), but there were no nativities to be found. I was a little bit in a hurry to get home, so when I entered the last store, I asked the clerk if they had any nativities, and he looked at me with a blank stare and sheepishly asked, “What is that?” My jaw dropped and I was speechless (for one of the first times ever in my life!), and my 16-year-old son who was with me started explaining to him what a nativity was. I went home empty handed that night and felt such sadness in my heart that people are forgetting that Christmas is about Christ!
This experience has made me even more determined to make sure we have the true meaning of Christmas in our home and in our hearts this Christmas season. I’m going to focus more on serving others than buying presents. I’m going to play beautiful Christmas music in my home, and try to have more fun and make special memories with my family, instead of getting stressed with all that I think I have to do. I’m going to contemplate more about the Savior, and talk more about his perfect life and his ultimate gift to us, and try to live more like he has taught us and shown us. And I am going to prominently display every nativity that I have!
I wanted to share my favorite Christmas quote. President Howard W. Hunter said this in his last public address to the Church. He suggests 22 things we should do this Christmas.
“This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”
What beautiful counsel. May we all remember that Christmas is about celebrating the birth and life of our Savior Jesus Christ, and may we all try to live more like him.
Hugs to all and Merry Christmas! Melissa
(Quote from: Howard W. Hunter, “The Gifts of Christmas”, First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 1994)
(Painting by Simon Dewey, "And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful")