Monday, December 22, 2014

Mormon Monday: Christ is the Gift

As you probably are all aware, this week is Christmas!

I love Christmas. I still get super excited about it, even though I'm grown up and not supposed to be a kid anymore.

Part of what makes Christmas so fun for me, is giving presents and preparing surprises for those that I love. Last year, my siblings all pitched in to surprise my father with a treadmill. He was definitely surprised, even though we managed to get him to drive it back to Idaho. That was a lot of fun.

Kevin and I have been watching some different Christmas movies together. Some of the movies we've watched are Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (a couple of times), Frosty the Snowman, and Elf.

One thing that's been kind of bothering me as I've watched these movies, came to a head when I was watching Elf. I love that movie, and it cracks me up. Honestly, it's probably the only Will Ferrell movie that I like.

However, at one point in the movie, Santa Claus states that the Christmas spirit is believing in Santa Claus.

Now don't get me wrong, I think Santa is a wonderful tradition. However, he is not supposed to be what Christmas is about. In fact, he himself is symbolic of Christ.

Here's a video explaining some of the similarities and symbolism, if you're interested.
They showed this at our Ward Christmas party. I thought it was cute.

According to the dictionary, Christmas is defined as
the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ's birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. 
By definition, Christmas is a Christian festival. Yet, so many "Christmas" movies avoid any mention the Savior. It is easier to pretend that Christmas is about Santa, then to possibly offend someone who doesn't believe in Christ.

However, if you're celebrating Christmas, shouldn't you believe in Christ?

Link to Source
The spirit of Christmas is about becoming more like Christ. We give gifts because Christ gave us the greatest gift of all: the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father. His gift didn't cost a lot of money, but it was expensive nonetheless. His gift took a lifetime to prepare, it cost Him His life, and it is applicable to all of us. Any one can partake of Christ's gift if they choose to.

I am so grateful for the gift of the Savior. I've been trying really hard this year to maintain my focus on him and his life throughout this Christmas season. To that end, we are trying to establish a family tradition. We taped a box shut, and cut an opening in the top. Then we wrapped the box up, except for the opening. This became our gift for the Savior. Throughout the month of December, we've been trying to do service, and when we do, we've been trying to remember to write down what we've done on a slip of paper, and place it into the present for Christ. Some days, we've forgotten all about our box and even when we've done service, we haven't remembered to put it in.

Though we haven't been perfect everyday about following through, I like the idea, and it has been fun to see that present sitting there. (Kevin wants to unwrap it though, and it makes him sad when we don't let him.)

On  Christmas, we're planning on opening the present and reading some of the service that we have done. As our children grow older, we are also planning on drawing names daily for someone to do a service for the person that they've picked, and then writing what they did on a slip of paper and placing it in the box.

We hope to make this an annual Christmas tradition.

The hope and peace that the Savior brings into my life is incomparable. I wish that everyone could feel the same comfort and love that I do. It is to this intent that we try to share the gift of the Savior. We don't want to push our beliefs on others, but we do want to give everyone the opportunity to accept them if they are interested. If we don't do our best to share the wonderful gift we have received from the Savior, then aren't we being selfish?

I believe in Christ and I know He wants all of His brothers and sisters to return to live with Heavenly Father. I want to be able to live with everyone too. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without my friends and family there.

I know that Christ was born in a stable and that He lives today. He did die, and He was resurrected. His birth was only important because of the choices that He made during his life. I want to live my life in a way that will bring my Savior joy.

I know these things are true, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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