Wow, I haven't posted in a while. It's been hectic. Sorry.
I just wanted to say (as I won't be on tomorrow or Christmas) that I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I am reminded almost every day of the kindness and giving present at this time of year. And though the sentiments of Christmas have been said "many times, many ways", I feel that the words of Jeffery R. Holland sum it up best, as he references both the holy account of the Christ child's birth found in the Book of Luke, and Dr. Seuss' childhood classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. He says:
"You will recall from Dr. Suess’s holiday “horror” story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that the devilish Grinch determined to rob Who-ville of every holiday treat. In a nefarious scheme in which the Grinch dressed as Santa himself, he moved through Who-ville taking every package, tree, ornament, and stocking.
We now come upon him as he leaves the city, chuckling to himself in delight over the pain he will have caused children like little Cindy-Lou Who.
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!
Part of the purpose for telling the story of Christmas is to remind us that Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Indeed, however delightful we feel about it, even as children, each year it “means a little bit more.” And no matter how many times we read the biblical account of that evening in Bethlehem, we always come away with a thought—or two—we haven’t had before.
'And she brought forth her firstborn son, and [she] wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and [she] laid him in a manger.' (Luke 2:6–7.) Those brief pronouns trumpet in our ears that, second only to the child himself, Mary is the chiefest figure, the regal queen, mother of mothers—holding center stage in this grandest of all dramatic moments. And those same pronouns also trumpet that, save for her beloved husband, she was very much alone.
I have wondered if this young woman, something of a child herself, here bearing her first baby, might have wished her mother, or an aunt, or her sister, or a friend, to be near her through the labor. Surely the birth of such a son as this should command the aid and attention of every midwife in Judea! We all might wish that someone could have held her hand, cooled her brow, and when the ordeal was over, given her rest in crisp, cool linen.
At this focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched—none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother, and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen.
Shepherds would soon arrive and later, wise men from the East. Later yet the memory of that night would bring Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph—and all would be welcome. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby—that’s how Christmas began.
It is for this baby that we shout in chorus: “Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn king! … Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die: Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.' 'Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.’”
(full Christmas address may be found at http://lds.org/ensign/1977/12/maybe-christmas-doesnt-come-from-a-store?lang=eng)
With that, Merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year.