The other day I flipped to PBS and was surprised to find a Hanukkah themed set of programming. Sesame Street was full of large nosed, accented puppets spinning dreidels. It was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I did start to wonder if there was a sister episode detailing Christmas traditions? Luckily there is, it's a bit more secular than I may want it to be but at least it's there.
Speaking of secular. A few months ago I was listening to NPR and one of the Sesame Street producers was celebrating several years of success. The announcer took a call from another man who started to praise Sesame Street for its constant and unfailing secular nature. He said that him and his husband were agnostics and were raising their son to be the same. They felt so safe knowing that Sesame Street would never force any type of religion on their child. How sad.
We've been hearing the song I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas alot in the car thanks to Delilah and other soft rock station DJs. I have to admit that I often feel sad while I look across the tragically barren and ugly desert and realize that I will most definitely NOT have a white Christmas. But the other day I got to thinking, a white Christmas is possible. It may not be the snowy one that we all imagine but the blood of Christ has made it possible for us to become white in a sense. And what is Christmas all about if it isn't about Christ? The world says it's about Santa Claus and presents and the mall and light displays synchronized with synthesized Christmas carols. Luckily, as Christians we know that we celebrate this holiday in honor of the Son of God and his miraculous birth. We then give thanks for his life giving death and miraculous resurrection. He is spotless and white and through him, we can become the same. So this Christmas I am going to dedicate myself to becoming as clean and white as I can. I am going to live and love and work to be like Christ, the very reason for this season. Then maybe the song won't haunt me with longing for hot cocoa and a fire but fill me with a better kind of joy and warmth.
I was at a Home Goods store last week and was toying with the idea of sending out a family Christmas card. I flipped through box after box of seasonal greeting cards and wouldn't you guess, not a single one said Merry Christmas. "Happy Holidays" was all I could find. I do want to wish those of other faiths happy holidays but my faith is Christian and I want to represent that. To me saying Merry Christmas is like an extra nice way of telling someone to have a good day. There's nothing offensive at all and those who get offended by a cheery, "Merry Christmas!" choose to get offended and need to re-think their attitudes.
My mom sent Jack and Violet a stuffed version of the nativity scene. When I first looked at it I will admit that I thought it was kind of tragic looking but I have been AMAZED at how much my children love it. In fact, I keep it in the car now and they love me to tell them the story of Jesus' birth. It's been so sweet to hear Jack start to repeat the story and ask me more and more detailed questions. The other day someone on t.v. had the name Mary and Jack yelled out, "Hey! That's just like Jesus' mommy!" I am so grateful for my own mother who took the time to send my children their very own nativity scene and for the insight she has into teaching children the stories of the gospel.
I am so very grateful for this Christmas season. I felt so full of joy on Sunday after a wonderful Fast and Testimony meeting during both Sacrament and Relief Society. Then that night I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear from the First Presidency of the church during a beautiful Christmas devotional. I am am so glad I have the true gospel here in my life and more especially in my heart and that I can continue to grow as I remember the miracle of the birth of the Son of God. I hope that all of you get a chance to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and that the spirit fills your heart with warmth and love.
Michael, Kat, Jack and Violet