Wednesday, December 24, 2014


'Tis the season...

for yuletide carols, candycanes, pointy trees, big bows and family.. lots of family.

I saw a beautiful video called #sharethegift that pleaded for us to turn back to the humble, true meaning of Christmas.  To remember Christ and share His message.  Through love, peace, hope and charity we can share that first great gift.

                         -john 3:16

Ever since I first saw this video, my mind has been racing.  How can I share the gift?  How can I spread the peace and love this season?

I had grand plans of holiday tunes marched around town, baking to the beat of my own drum and "helping elves" spreading love not mayhem.  Then, with a week's notice I decided to move.

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."  Buddy was on to something, and usually we pack up the clan and sing our carols brightly.  But, being in a new town full of new people, our carols were lost.

Plan B, blissfully baking was foiled when, after many a box was unloaded, no Kitchenaide revealed itself.  It held hostage many of its other baking buddies, leaving me with no means to create culinary master-pieces.  

I came up with this lovely idea of little elves doing good deeds and spreading cheer through acts of kindness, but didn't know where to start in a new land of unfamiliar people.  The thought of my 5-year-old sweeping a strangers house made me a little uneasy.  

SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?  What monumental thing do I have at my disposal to share this great gift?

I was at a loss.

Then, at church, I heard these words:

"There is no story quite as beautiful, or which can stir the soul of the humble quite to the depths, as this glorious story can of the birth of our Redeemer.  No words that man may utter can embellish or improve or add to the eloquence of its humble simplicity.  It never grows old no matter how often told, and the telling of it is by far too infrequent in the homes of men."
                 -President Joseph Fielding Smith

Let me repeat that last part again, the part that really hit home for me:  "the telling of it is by far too infrequent.."


Tell the story and share the gift.

Conveniently, I was able to put together a lovely nativity shoot last year, which is perfect as I use pictures, the New Testament and my favorite Christmas Carols to recount this precious tale...

It starts long ago, in a faraway land.  A young girl, of humble means and a true heart discovers her glorious fate-

 An angel of the Lord reveals to her that she would bear the great Christ child.  That this young woman would mother the "King of Kings," the Savior of the world.  As I ponder this revelation given her, and as I hold my own baby boy in my arms, it is hard not to wonder what she thought in these moments.  Could she possibly know the importance of her role, the gravity of her choice?

"Mary did you know that your baby boy will some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you
(Mary Did You Know, Chirstmas song)

Of course, life is not meant to be endured alone.  Neither was Mary's calling that of an individual sacrifice.  At her side, though it must have been hard and confusing at times, was her faithful husband.  He physically helped carry her load as he led her to Bethlehem and stood in to be the earthly father to this heavenly child.

Even on the Lord's errand, we are not freed from trials and tribulation.  Heavenly Father promises great blessings to those who endure, but endure we must.  Agreeing to parent the Christ-child did not bring with it luxuries untold, the King of Kings was not to be born in a mansion of gold.  On the contrary, this couple who sacrificed so much would be turned away at every corner.

We all reach points in our lives where the trials and burdens feel unbearable, where we feel that each turn brings us further from where we want to be, where the world beats its hand against us, where we feel we have nowhere else to turn.

"We need to know that in spite of all the troubles and ills which befall us, still the Lord is governing in the affairs of the earth and that if we keep His commandments and are true and faithful to His laws, He will bless us here and now and reward us with eternal life in His kingdom in due corse.."  (President Joseph Fielding Smith)

"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!" (Neal A Maxwell)

"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

May we find our stable, our manger, our lowly and humble state as this couple did.  There, we will find the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes.  There we will find our salvation.

"I now pray that at this Christmas Season, and at all times, we may center our faith in the Son of God and gain for ourselves that peace which passeth understanding."  (President Joseph Fielding Smith)

"O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees, O hear the angels' voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine"
(O Holy Night, Christmas Song)

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, 
keeping watch over their flock by night.

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the 
Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you 
good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of 
David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

"And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the 
babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of 
the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, 
the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,
 and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, 
and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
      (Luke 2:8-16)

"These were humble men who had not lost the faith of their fathers, whose hearts had not become hardened..." (President Joseph Fielding Smith)

Have our hearts become hardened with the harsh realities of the world?  Have we laid down our staff and wandered off alone, losing sight of the great light ahead of us?

Far to the East, the light of the great star beamed as a sign to the wise men that the Christ child was born.  Hope was restored and the eternities of mankind was to be saved.  

Wise men still seek Him. 
The humble adore Him. 
Hope is reborn, and new life is restored
To all who believe. 
(From the Christmas song, Touched by a Child)

Bearing the finest gifts of their time, the wise men rode to meet the great Savior of the world.  As these were, great tributes to Him, Christ does not require lavish gifts.  But rather, gifts of the heart.  The gift of a humble and contrite spirit.  The gift of a broken and changed heart, turned to Him.  

Seek Him.

Find Him

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees, O hear the angels' voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night divine,
(O, Holy Night)

He is the Christ.

He is Christmas.

He is the Gift.

I hope you enjoyed my telling of this great and humble story.  I wish you the very best this Christmas.  May you enjoy peace and love.  May you be filled with the spirit of Christ.

I challenge you to #tellthestory  Whether that means you share my rendition, you read it from the bible, warm and cozy by the fire, or by your own words.  Tell it.  

Spread the word.

Spread the gift.

Merry Christmas!