How I love Christmas! It has always been my favorite time of the year. I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas in the past. My Christmas memories are filled with memories of travel to see my brothers and sister and their families. It is a wonderful time of magic and giving.
I also find myself thinking a great deal about the messages we have received from our leaders regarding choosing good, better or best. Christmas is a time of so many choices of good. There are wonderful things to see, do and share. I could well fill my time with those good things, and feel great happiness. I am learning, though, that there is something much more.
So I find myself trying much harder to find the best. I certainly would include spending time with family and friends as a best part of Christmas. What I have also discovered is that too often we underestimate the promises given in the scriptures. If we focus on the Savior, we will be blessed. What if we combine the best activities? What if we have our families engage in service together at Christmas? Not that Mom will do all the shopping to give to a family in need, but that the family will counsel and do the activities as a family. What if we include our family members who are not members of our Church in the Christmas activities at our wards and branches?
That has made me think a lot about what we offer those who may not enter church buildings often. What do we offer them? Do we offer friendship and love? Do we offer peace and spiritual uplift? We have something greater than singing Christmas carols and the spirit of giving. We have the blessing of knowing that Jesus is the Christ, and that this is the time to celebrate his birth. When we first arrived here, I had made some sweet friends who spoke English but no Portuguese. I wanted to be able to take them to an activity at our Church to show them that we are Christians. I found a Grinch activity, a Scrooge activity and many with Santa Claus. Only my little Branch was doing something that showed who we worship.
This year, I live in Lilburn. I am so impressed with the commitment they have here to show our love for the Savior. They have held an activity in which they decorate the annex with nativities of all kinds.
Many hours of work go into the event and it is free to everyone for three days. On the concluding night, there is a concert of Christmas music from many people in the Stake.
I was so glad to see an event that is great for missionary work. There is no question at these events whom we worship and whom we love.
Artwork and quilts created by members of the Stake were also on display.
This nativity was the favorite of both Elder Dixon and myself. It was made of porcelain or resin with cloth clothing and accents. The figurines were about 10" tall.
I hope all of you will have a Christmas filled with wonder and the blessings of our Savior.
We just had the privilege of hearing the Christmas devotional. I will be warmed throughout this season as I think of the donated wheelchairs. And I was reminded of the importance of giving my children and grandchildren a fish and not a stone.