Friday, December 17, 2010

I Love Christmas!

I love Christmas! I love the music and glittering lights. I love the feeling of love in the air - of excitement and anticipation. I love baking goodies to deliver to friends and neighbors, I love choosing presents to give to those we love, and doing good things for people - some in secret and some not. Giving gifts brings such joy.

President Monson said: "The spirit of giving gifts has been present in the mind of each Christian as he or she commemorates the Christmas season. Our Heavenly Father gave to us the greatest gift of all - His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Savior." He gave this gift to all of us, young and old, rich or poor. We didn't have to search the mall for it. It didn't cost us a single penny. It didn't come wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper. The most treasured gift ever given was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger.

"Then that precious Son gave to each of us a gift of His life, the Atonement, and victory over death." President Monson failed to add one of the most important gifts that we have been given - the gift of the Holy Ghost. How incredible is this gift of a member of the Godhead that we can have with us at all times if we are worthy. This is a gift of enormous power that we never want to be without any single day of our lives.

Then President Monson asked, "What gifts will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He 'went about doing good.' As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours."

He listed four other gifts that we should acknowledge: "The gift of birth,the gift of peace, the gift of love, and the gift of eternal life." Is it any wonder that at this sacred time of year as we celebrate the birth of this marvelous gift, that our hearts and thoughts are turned to gift giving?

Emily Freeman, in "A Christ-Centered Christmas" talked about one tradition her family has enjoyed over the years: "Inspired by the knowledge that the Christ child received just three gifts, one brilliant mother decided to simplify her Christmas giving. She began by researching the meaning behind the three gifts. Gold was a gift for a king, celebrating the baby's royalty. Myrrh, a common incense used for cleaning and for burial, was given in remembrance of His humanity and foreshadowed the important of His death. Frankincense, an incense used in the temple, represented His divinity. After studying at great length, this mother decided her gift giving would follow this same pattern. On Christmas morning, each of her children receives a gift from Santa, then three other gifts inspired from the gifts of the Magi - one that is joyful, one that is needful, and one that is meaningful."

May we remember gratefully those gifts that we have been given from on high, follow His example in giving gifts of service, and reflect on the gifts of the Magi in our own giving: those that are joyful, those that are needful, and those that are meaningful.

Merry Christmas - and the most Blessed of New Years!

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