Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Easter...?

Anyone want to take a guess as to what my lesson to my 5 year old Sunday School class was about.

If you guessed Christmas you would be rrrrr...wrong. The lesson was on why we celebrate Easter. That seemed odd to me. I looked ahead in the manual and the next lesson is Christmas. Truth be told I think we may be a week off of where we are supposed to be, but I'm not sure... I just got this calling a couple weeks ago.

Anyway, the kids were all abuzz literally bouncing off the walls with excitement for Christmas in a couple of days. Can you imagine the puzzled look on their little faces when I told them we are going to talk about Easter? One little girl raised her hand and said, "Um... I think you mean CHRISTMAS." So, my challenge was to tie Easter in to Christmas, because they just weren't going to let me get away with talking about Easter when Christmas is just a couple days away (even Walmart waits until AT LEAST January to stock up with Cadbury eggs... definitely NOT complaining about that one.)

But as I thought about it I realized that Easter is really the core reason that we celebrate Christmas. I personally think that the rest of the world should celebrate my day of birth (April 3, in case you were wondering, and Cadbury eggs make GREAT gifts.) but what have I done to deserve having the rest of the world join together to celebrate me making my arrival into the world. So that is what I explained to my class and later to my 3 year old (and possibly my almost 2 year old by osmosis). We celebrate Christmas because we are happy that Jesus Christ was born. On someones birthday we give them gifts to show that we are happy that they were born and that we love him. We give gifts to each other on Christmas because he is not here to hand a package but it makes him happy to see up happy. We are kinder to each other, we do nice things for each other, we are just slightly better people this time of year as our gift to the Savior to tell him that we are happy that He was born. But he deserves all of these things because of what we celebrate at Easter.

Because He was born we were given a Savior. Because he was born and spent the last few years of His life minister to the people and teaching the Plan of Salvation we have a road map of how to live our lives and return to our Heavenly Father. Because he was born and eventually died for us all of that is possible. Because he died for us we will live again.

So I say Happy Birthday to our Savior (even though he technically wasn't born on December 25) we love you and are so happy that you were born, and so grateful that you were willing to sacrifice you own life that we may live again. You deserve a day dedicated to you no matter what the rest of the world says.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silent Night, Holy Night

My friend, H, had a link to this story on her blog, and it touched my heart. Okay.. it made me blubber like a pregnant woman (which I am not) or baby (which is arguable).

By Glenn Register

As I stood in front of the tiny bassient in the quiet room of the preemie ICU, the day finally caught up with me and I was unable to sing another word. It was as if the sight of that tiny girl, six months old and barely over six pounds in weight, opened the floodgates of my emotions, and the events of the last several hours came crashing down on me.

I had arrived at the hospital in the early afternoon, led there by that undeniable whisper that we often feel in life. This time the message was simple: Go sing at the hospital. I went. After wandering around for at least half an hour arguing with myself, I told myself that I was going to either go home or start singing. I flipped a mental coin and entered the first room of the day. "Would you like a Christmas song?" I asked, in a voice that sounded a lot more confident than I felt at the moment. "I'd love a song!" was the enthusiastic reply. I sang. Guitar slung over my shoulder, I sang and sang. I sang for the sick, the dying, and, in once instance, in a double occupancy room, I sang to a sick fellow and his "recently deceased" roommate. I soon gained confidence, and, as the afternoon slid into evening, I felt invincible, able to walk through a brick wall if occasion required.

Somehow through all of this I was able to retain just enough distance to continue functioning. I remember the beautiful young lady in the pediatric unit, all of fourteen or fifteen, who began sobbing quietly during the song Silent Night. I had raised an eyebrow at her mother who was sitting nearby; she nodded and I continued, watching as this young girl's shining black hair shimmered with the shaking of her shoulders. An elderly woman, full of gratitude and leaking tears at an alarming rate, thanked me again and again. I began to see, as the day progressed, that I was the recipient of the greater blessing, as time after time, I felt of greatness and witnessed courage up close and magnificent. Confined by circumstances beyond their control, sequestered away from holiday lights, parties and the warmth of home and hearth, not one of them offered a single word of complaint. On the contrary, one elderly lady expressed her thankfulness at being in the hospital and receiving such good care. In a way inexplicable my own courage began to grow and I saw my life as never before, and my challenges shrank to a pitiful size as I drank in their collective courage and goodwill.

This feeling of invincibility remained with me until, as I mentioned earlier, I stood before the bassient of that tiny baby girl. That "stainless steel" feeling evaporated and I became my old goofball self, full of weakness and inability; Joe Normal. Gone were the huge sword swinging shoulders, lost was the ability to lead men into battle, forgotten was the clarion call of superior deeds. I was returned with a a nearly audible thump to my old self. With one notable exception; For as I stood there tears on my everyday face, I felt as never before of the wonder and glory of The Christ Child, born in poverty, laid, not in the antiseptic cleanliness of a modern hospital, but in the filth and grime of a barn, "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And I saw, for a brief moment, of the greatness of the Savior of mankind, and what His life had brought to me and mine, and what it would yet bring.

After a minute or two of fiddling around on the guitar waiting for my voice to return, I was able, after a fashion, to continue the song, Away in a Manger, then on to Silent Night. Somewhere during that second song I "connected" with that infant girl and it was as if we sang together in praise of the Babe of Bethlehem. I will never forget her or the gift she helped me receive, there in the back room of the hospital, away from the pomp and ceremony that has all but swallowed the Christmas season.

I think of her quite often, and more especially when the holidays approach, for that was to be her only Christmas Eve. I believe that I will see her again when my time here on earth is done. I'm a little sketchy on the details but I think we will meet in that other realm. I certainly hope so, for I have things to tell her, things of the heart, Like what an honor it was to sing for her, Like how much more Christmas means to me now, because of her, Like just how much I would love to sing with her again, just one last song, just like before.

Silent Night, Holy Night

Merry Christmas everyone. May we all remember the babe wrapped in rags and lain in a humble feeding trough who gave his life that we may have life eternal.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Come What May... And Love It!

I love this talk that Joseph B. Worthlin gave in October Conference this year. I think he may have written his own tribute to what an amazing man he is. He will be missed! In the words of President Thomas S. Monson (at Elder Worthlins funeral today): "We will miss you Joseph. We will miss you until we see you again tomorrow!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008