Christmas time is here

I really love this time of year. I know, I know… so does everybody else right? Blah Blah Blah…

But it seems like I have had a hard time getting into the FEELING of Christmas this year. Maybe it is because it is still over 50 degrees outside. And it has been raining the last few days… RAIN? Really? And I had thecoldofdeath last week so I was a little out of the picture.

I mean, I put my tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I’ve been listening to Christmas music in my car. I bought an “evergreen” scented wallflower since we have a fake tree right now. I put ribbon on the Costco wreath my mom bought me (moms are great aren’t they?) and hung it on my front door. I have all the nativities out and have been replacing our usual bedtime songs with Christmas carols.

Still, I was having a hard time feeling it.

Fortunately there have been 2 things this week that have helped me get back to that Christmas feeling.

1) The LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I don’t care who you are, if you love Christmas you should find a way to watch or listen to the broadcast if you missed it. Those men are so full of the Spirit of Christ and Christmas. You will FEEL it. They spoke of simple gifts, of the goodness of children and the light in their eyes at Christmas, the wonder of giving, the beauty of receiving with grace and the true message of Christ’s birth. I was all misty-eyed. And the music was, of course, breathtaking. In particular I thought of some wonderful empty-nester neighbors we have who absolutely adore my wild and crazy boys and spoil them like another set of grandparents. There are so many days we come home to a surprise on our porch from Peggy. I mean, the woman came and played trains with my children so I could go get myself a treat and read a book for an hour on my birthday. While I listened to the message of Christmas many ideas were popping in my head of how I can teach my children to serve our neighbors and maybe give them back a little of the love they shower on us.

2) The annual Nativity in the Glen. For the last 10 years or so, my LDS stake, along with the help of some other community and religious organizations has but on an amazingly beautiful live nativity. We are blessed in Salt Lake City, and particularly in our Salt Lake Bonneville Stake with some very unique buildings and grounds. Our stake center happens to have some property along the emigration creek that we call the Bonneville Glen. There is a little amphitheater/fireplace area, and some just beautiful grounds. Some really inspired person decided we should use it to create Bethlehem. It is truly magical. It has become such a major community event that there are lines around the block to get in and walk through. Live animals (a camel, sheep, goats, donkeys… last year there was a YAK!), people dressed up as shepherds, wise men, and a few truly brave new mothers and fathers who wrap their newborn child in swaddling clothes and take turns as Mary, Joseph and the beautiful baby Jesus. I have never seen the baby Jesus crying, despite the cold and I’m sure scratchy hay in his manger! It is masterfully done. The Market Square with hot cocoa, bread and bagels, angelic singing from local choirs and groups and of course, the nativity scene – complete with music and narration from the scriptures. The crowd is large, but silent as they watch and the feeling of peace that overwhelms is unmatched.

I know it really happened. I told that to my young, tired, son last night as I held him and we watched in silence as the true story of Christmas was told, and shown. It was beautiful. My son being silent… miraculous! It happened, and that is why this season is so wonderful. We can feel it. Sometimes we have to find it amid the noise and bustle, but it is there. I am so grateful.

May you have a Merry Christmas filled with peace, love and family. And a few well-chosen delicious treats. I will be making fudge next week if you need something!

Also – THIS happened the other day:

Jack is playing with his little people nativity set. It plays “away in a manger.” While it softly sings I hear:
“Hello baby Jesus!”
“I’m not baby Jesus I’m a STORMTROOPER”
……machine gun noises……