Monday, December 15, 2008

O Christmas Tree

This is our Christmas tree!! This is the first time I've had a full-sized Christmas tree since 1998, when all my sophomore roomates (at Ricks) went to Star Valley Wyoming to cut down our own tree. Kirk and I have had a lovely little 2-footer for the past three years and we are so happy to have a real tree this year. It's beautiful and it's one of the only things that makes it feel like it really is Christmas! 

I love Christmas time. It is my very favorite time of year. I just can't believe it's HERE already! The days and weeks go so quickly in December, as I'm sure you've all experienced.  Work is especially busy, as is every part of our lives.. church callings, family activities, shopping, neighborhood parties, shopping, making goodies for EVERYONE.. and finishing up the shopping!! It's easy to get caught up in all the hub bub and forget to leave time for the real reason for the season. 

I went to our RS Enrichment a couple of weeks ago, and someone read a message from Elder James E. Faust, from the 2001 December Ensign. It is SUCH an amazing message.  You can read the entire message HERE. Here are a few of my favorite parts:

As I look back on that special Christmas over a lifetime, the most memorable part was that we did not think about presents. There may have been some handmade mittens or a scarf given, but I do not recall any presents. Presents are wonderful, but I found that they are not essential to our happiness. I could not have been happier. There were no presents that could be held and fondled and played with, but there were many wonderful gifts that could not be seen but could be felt.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:31, 34–40).

So as we help the sick and clothe the naked and attend to the stranger, we personally give gifts to our Savior.

Among these true gifts are some our family shared on that boyhood Christmas I told you about: the gift of peace, the gift of love, the gift of service, the gift of self, and the gift of faith.

There are so many problems facing us individually and collectively. Yet I have the simple faith that many, if not all, of them can be put into proper perspective by Paul’s sublime message to the Galatians: “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” 

With gifts such as these, I am sure everyone could feel as I did that wonderful Christmas so long ago when we had no presents to hold and play with. I would not have wanted to trade places with any prince of the world with his room full of toys. The gifts of love, peace, service, self, and faith so generously given made me feel so fulfilled. It made me feel that I must be somebody special to be part of so much love. I wanted nothing besides more of these wonderful gifts that couldn’t be handled nor touched but only felt.

Take a minute to read the whole thing if you can, or share it with your family for FHE. It was just the reminder that I needed to slow down and remember my Savior. I am so SUPER blessed, and I know that everything I have and am I owe to Him.


Kimberly said...

It's beautiful. It looks TALL. Congrats. Having a tree seems to be a tough thing to get going after you're married!! We struggle too.

Kathy said...

We struggled too. Mom gave us a small tree our first Christmas, we had it in Provo and LA. When we moved to Meridian in 1970 we were hosting the Perrins family for Christmas and we only had a small tree. Grandpa Perrins just couldn't stand it. He went out a bought a real tree and ornaments and lights to go on it. I was so impressed with him and loved the tree!

Scully said...

The tree is gorgeous! I look forward to having a space large enough for a full-sized tree. How long are you going to be home for? I'm going to be having a nomadic Christmas, but it would be awesome to see you guys at some point!

Heather said...

We'll be home for a week Scully!! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. and like I said before, you really are welcome to sleep over at our house. Kimberly has an extra room too if you need a place to stay. Those darn missionaries!! :)

Danielle said...

Beautiful tree! I love Christmas, too!!! Mom's comment literally brought tears to my eyes. Leave it to Christmas to rustle up some extreme nostalgia!!

Rr said...

I need to come visit you guys. How are things going? Any news with the adoption? I search for foster children all the time. I love all of them. Miss you guys. Have a Merry Christmas!!

WalkConkies said...

Beautiful tree and thanks for the inspiring talk. I need to print that one for us to read every year!
Thanks so much for coming to the surprise party - it was sooo good to see you. We need to do it again soon!