Sunday, December 15, 2013

Does Jesus Fit into your Christmas?

Does Jesus fit into your Christmas? Christians the world over have been taught about the prophecies leading to Christ’s birth: that the promised Messiah was born in a stable and cradled in a manger, that His birth was the greatest gift ever given to the world by God, the Father of us all; but, do Christians remember Jesus on Christmas day? Does Jesus fit into your holiday plans? Does He fit into your life all through the year?

My mother-in-law made each person in our family a Christmas stocking. When I was pregnant with our first baby, she made a stocking that just said “Baby” on it, and it had both pink and white yarn with white as well. This particular stocking evolved into our stocking for Jesus. This stocking became a place where we could deliver messages meant for the Christ-child; we deposited our gifts for Him there. It became a lovely family tradition. It is a way for us to fit Jesus into our celebration. What are some ways your family remembers Jesus at Christmastime?

Our current Bishop has challenged Ward members during the last quarter of the year to reread the Book of Mormon before Christmas. Reading the scriptures is another way that we can bring Jesus into Christmas, or to remember why we celebrate Christmas to begin with. In past years, our family has read the four Gospels during the months leading up to Christmas. And always, on Christmas Eve, the father in our home reads us the Christmas Story as found in the Gospel of Luke. What books of scripture or other inspiring books or magazines do you read to help you remember and to prepare you for Christmas?

Christ’s mission was all about service, giving, sharing, and saving. Every year we have enjoyed holiday baking and sharing our treats with neighbors and friends. One year our family acted as Santa Claus and took little presents to another family each day for twelve days leading up to Christmas. Our children felt the joy and excitement of giving anonymously and the anticipation of doing so without being caught. Other years we have chosen names from giving trees, so that we could help individuals or families receive a nice present for Christmas. My husband and I have been involved in missionary work, and there really is no greater pleasure than teaching people about Jesus and our Heavenly Father’s great love for all of us and watching them accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. What are some activities that you engage in that bring joy to others and the Spirit of Christmas into your heart?

We all have our own holiday traditions, and that is as it should be. We are blessed and entitled to believe and to celebrate as well choose. But Christmastime, for me, is a reminder that Christ does live! He is my Savior. He was born as an infant to Mary, His mother; and, God is His Father. Jesus is God’s Literal and Only Begotten Son. Joseph was a righteous man who acted as a mortal father to our Mortal Messiah, teaching Him about his earthly trade of carpentry and guiding Him in His spiritual development. Christmastime is a time for me to contemplate the great love that our Father in Heaven has for all of us in sending His Son to teach us by precept and example, to show us the way back to Heaven, and to pay the price of our admittance there with His own suffering, death, and resurrection. Christmastime is a time for me to remember that the focus of my life, not just the Christmas season, should always be centered in Jesus Christ. As I focus on Jesus Christ, my vision is not limited, but magnified, as I begin to see His great love for me and to feel my love begin to expand for others.

Today I am recommitting to fit Jesus into my Christmas and into my daily life throughout the year. I will need to make this a daily commitment in prayer each morning, and report back each night to my Heavenly Father. I know that some days I’ll do better than others, but Christmastime reminds me of God’ great Plan of Redemption. Each day I can repent and begin on my journey again. I’m thankful for this powerful gift. So my gift in return is to not give up, but to keep on trying, no matter how poorly or how well I think I am doing. Christmastime for many of us becomes a time to review our year and determine to do a little bit better. My gift for 2014 will be to review how I am doing much more often and to be concerned about charting my course more carefully from day to day. I desire for Jesus to fit into my Christmas now and to my daily routines, and spiritually guided deviations from my plans, each day of the year and coming years. Will I be successful at fitting Jesus into my life? If I do as He did and seek to do my Heavenly Father’s will and not merely my own, I know I will be.

Does Jesus fit into your Christmas? Will Jesus fit into your life in 2014?

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