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As time grows closer to Christmas, (my favorite holiday), I feel more at peace. I like to have the shopping done early, and the presents wrapped and under the tree. This is so I can sit back and really enjoy the Spirit of Christmas without feeling a lot of pressure to get things done.
We enjoyed our Live Nativity just a few days ago. Our yard was filled with family and friends to enjoy this special event with us. I loved watching our Grandchildren along with all of the other children we know and love, perform in this special event. What a feeling of love I felt that night. Not only did I feel a love for our friends and family, but a love for our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.
As we all stood away from the warmth of the fires to watch as Mary rode our donkey Gus into the Live Nativity with Joseph leading her. I felt a great reverence and respect for Mary. How uncomfortable she must have felt riding a donkey just before giving birth. How worried she must have been knowing that soon she would give birth to the Son of God, and the only place that could be found was in a stable.
How humbling these thoughts were for me, as I watched my granddaughter climb off of the donkey and approach the manger. She placed the baby carefully into the manger filled with straw, as we all watched.
The narrator recited the story of that blessed event and we stood as spectators as all of our cute little shepherds entered the scene with the beautiful little angels watching from the top of the hay bales. Each child playing the part they had been dressed up for perfection in their own way. It was so sweet.
From the sidelines came our wise men. This year played by 3 of our grandchildren and a good friend. Yes, that does total 4, but our 2 1/2-year-old grandson insisted he needed to be a Wiseman. While I really didn’t think he would play the part he surprised me. He went to the manger and tried to give Mary a gift for baby Jesus. She was confused, she wasn’t ready for that. I had to smile, he was so persistent, so innocent, and so sweet.
I stopped to think, our Heavenly Father gave his Son to us as a gift. He would be an example for us throughout his life, and then would be crucified for us. He would pay for all of our sins. Would I take this gift that was so sweetly given to me? Would I treasure it and love my Father in Heaven for sacrificing his son for me? Would I strive to be like Jesus so that I can someday return to live with him and my Heavenly Father?
With tears in my eyes, I watched each of these beautiful, sweet and innocent children as we all sat in reverence, lost in our own thoughts. Then quietly we sang “Silent Night” in that freezing, breezy night. It rang beautifully through that cold night air.
Sharing the Tradition
The Live Nativity is something I look forward to each year. It causes me to reflect on the things that are really important in life. It reminds me what I need to learn and what I need to teach and share with others.
A few years ago after the Live Nativity, I woke the next morning with the thought, I need to tell this story of Jesus in a way a child can understand it. I sat on the edge of my bed and jotted down all the ideas that were racing through my head. My heart raced, I was so excited about my new challenge, and the pictures of how it should look popped into my head. Right down to my beloved goat “Grandma Cookie.” She had been a part of the Nativity along with Gus, for years. “The Christmas Gift, a story told by Grandma Cookie,” came to life in my head that day. Now I share that story with others to enjoy and teach their children about the true meaning of Christmas. This is important to me. This book has become a tradition for us to read at Christmas time, and we read it all year round.
Family traditions are important. I believe building memories help bring and hold a family together.
From all of our family to yours. Merry Christmas!
We hope you enjoy your family and friends throughout this beautiful holiday season.