September 5, 2008

the *true* reason for a merry christmas!!

today i celebrated christmas with my students. we played christmas jingles and hymns. i wore red and green clothes, christmas ornament earrings, and a pin that said "santa's favorite". we talked about the birth of our Savior -- the background, history, and the circumstances surrounding the event. it really went well, though we got through only a portion of what i'd hoped we would cover. the students had great insight, great questions, and great participation.

as a class, we discussed where bethlehem is and why the city was so packed causing the innkeeper to tell mary and joseph there was no room. we also talked about how a manger is an animal feeding trough and swaddling clothes are similar to a burlap sack. angels visited the shepherds to instruct them on how to find the baby King of the Jews, even though He would not look like a king. when the angels left them and the shepherds realized what had just happened, they hastened to the babe. we likened that to how we should hasten whenever the spirit prompts us. we need to hasten to come closer to Christ.

one of the most delightful parts of the lesson was when we spoke about the mother mary. i teach 14 and 15 year olds and the fact that mary was their age when she gave birth to Jesus was absolutely crazy to them! we spoke about how mary reacted initially when she learned her task. but what did she do after that? she said, "behold the handmaid of the Lord" because she believed the angel gabriel's promise that with God nothing is impossible. she was willing and her heart was ready, but did she understand how momentous this moment would be for the rest of eternity? did she know? did Mary know?

even though september just got here, celebrating christmas brought with it all the associated excitement and joy. i know that my Savior was born in the lowliest of circumstances so that even from the beginning he could have compassion and understanding for all His brothers and sisters. the true meaning of christmas should stay in our hearts every day of the year. i want to be more Christ-like. merry christmas!