Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014- A Mission Christmas

I couldn't conclude Thanksgiving without the traditional homemade noodles.

That dish brings back years of sweet memories.  I had to laugh a little this year, though, because I always thought my sister was the traditional one.  For Thanksgiving she had steak and crab!
With the Thanksgiving celebration over, we moved on to creating Christmas here.  Thanks to Pete and Richard, we were able to "borrow" Christmas.  They graciously loaned us lovely things to use to decorate.  That is the greatest!  We didn't have to buy anything, can return it after the holiday and won't have to store them.

The wreath was one left by the previous Senior couple.  The ribbon bow was one of Pete's.  I added the gift tag to let people know that "He is the Gift".

This Christmas season has been one of reflection for me.  Yesterday, we were in Walmart.  There was no music.  No Christmas carols of any kind, nor any other kind of music.  Elder Dixon, who hesitates to ever sing even with a choir, began to sing Christmas songs.  I totally understood.  There was something terribly missing from Christmas.

A sister in the Branch asked why we celebrate Christ's birth on December 25 since we know that is not really  his birthday.  That is a reasonable question.  The history of the December 25 date is not based on any biblical information.  I suppose my answer would be that it is not really about the date.  It is an opportunity for Christians to celebrate one of the greatest events of all time.  It is an opportunity to turn hearts to Him for whom the angels sang.  It is an opportunity for us to serve as He served and to love as He loved.  It is a time to stop and remember all that is good.

So that is what has troubled me so much.  I looked for opportunities this year to take my non-LDS friends to Christmas events in our wards to share the most important story ever.  What I often found were celebrations with Santa Claus, barbecues and even the Grinch.  I began to understand how our non-LDS friends would question whether we are Christian.  The events by other Christian faiths here are completely tied to Him.  They have advents, concerts, and live nativities.  I haven't seen a single sign from another Christian church in which they said Santa Claus would be there.

So, I look forward with great anticipation to trying to create that journey for those who still seek him.  We will have our Branch Christmas party on December 20.  I hope to create the "spirit of place" and, by so doing, give all who attend the real spirit of Christmas.

Our sisters serving in the Spanish Branch borrowed some of the props for their party yesterday.

My second companion, Sister Barros, is returning to Temple Square this week.  We will miss her.  She was a real addition to our missionary team.  It was hard for me to adjust to having a companion I could not leave, especially with the issues that we sometimes have for coverage of assignments in the branch.  She was patient and kind.  I have such a hard time letting go of these great missionaries. . . .

It is also transfer week and our sweet Sister Adorable will be going home.  We will get to see her once or twice before she leaves.  We miss her, too.  She was the first about whom I learned that I hate transfers.

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