Thursday, December 9, 2010

means a little bit more...

one of the many joys of being relief society president is the occasional opportunity to give a lesson in relief society. as much as it terrifies me, i have to admit that secretly i really do love it. it's always been a hard thing for me to get up in front of big groups and talk, i even used to get horrible butterflies for weeks in advance! yet, i do love having an opportunity to bear my testimony of the gospel and my savior jesus christ. seeing as how christmas is coming; me and my presidency decided to have a lesson on christmas, which we based off elder jeffrey r. holland's talk "maybe christmas doesn't come from a store." i absolutely love this talk! in case you're interested here's a copy of my part of the lesson. i bet that's all you wanted for christmas! : )

President Monson has said: "The Spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things. . . ."
{One story which illustrates the Spirit of Christmas is this is the story of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss. As we all know The Grinch was determined to take away everything that resembled the Christmas holiday from the Who’s in Who-ville. Yet, what he came to find out was that the Spirit of Christmas couldn’t be destroyed just by taking away their packages, bows, and stockings…}
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?” “It came without ribbons! It came without tags! “It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas …perhaps … means a little bit more!” (Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, New York: Random House, 1957.)
The purpose of this story from a simple children’s book is to remind us that Christmas doesn’t come from the gifts under the tree and things from the store which the world would have us believe is most important. Most of these gifts will come and go without leaving any permanent, positive impact on the lives of those it is given to. Christmas is actually about something more – Christ. Several years ago in the First Presidency Christmas message President Monson reminded us that, “To catch the real meaning of the Spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the Spirit of Christ. And one of the ways in which we obtain the Christmas spirit - the Christ spirit - is by willingly giving of ourselves to others." Jesus Christ was the perfect example of one who willingly gave of himself to others right from the very beginning of his birth into the world to the ultimate sacrifice of the Atonement.
{What are some stories from Jesus Christ’s life found in the scriptures which illustrate the ‘Christ Spirit?’?} {What are ways we too can give of ourselves from His example to show our Savior the love we have for him?}
Sister Bonnie D. Parkin said, "The pure love of Christ.... What does this phrase mean? We find part of the answer in Joshua: 'Take diligent heed... to love the Lord your God... and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.' Charity is our love for the Lord, shown through our acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding for one another...."Charity is also the Lord's love for us, shown through His acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding.”
President Monson also said: "There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by the Savior. It is the time to love the Lord with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves. We must make Christmas real. It isn't just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior's teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others."
{We have all received gifts at Christmas time from friends and family which we treasured then, and probably still cherish many years later. This is not to say gifts of monetary value are not of importance at this special time of year, but as Elder Holland says,}
“Perhaps this provides an important distinction we should remember in our own holiday season. Maybe the purchasing and making and the wrapping and the decorating-these delightfully generous and important expressions of our love at Christmas – should be separated, if only slightly, from the more quiet, personal moments when we consider the meaning of the Baby (and His birth) who prompts the giving of such gifts. As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized. In some of our lives the manger has already been torn down to allow for a discount stores running three-for-a-dollar specials…I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion – the Babe of Bethlehem – will we know why, ‘tis the season to be jolly’ and why the giving of gifts is so appropriate. “
{Christmas Spirit} – Mormon Messages
We all know that no one ever lived upon the earth who exerted the same influence upon the destinies of the world as did our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and yet He was born in obscurity, cradled in a manger. He chose for His Apostles poor, unlettered fishermen. [More than] 1,900 years have passed and gone since His Crucifixion, and yet all over the world, in spite of all strife and chaos, there is still burning in the hearts of millions of people a testimony of the divinity of the work that He accomplished.…It is a source of unbounded joy to me and fills my heart beyond my power of expression to contemplate the fact that God our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ have visited the earth and again revealed the gospel to man; and it fills me with thanksgiving and gratitude, far beyond my power to tell, that He has blessed me with a knowledge of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged. My constant and earnest prayer to Him has always been that my mind should never become darkened, that I should never depart from the path of rectitude, but that as I grew in years I would increase in understanding, that the light and inspiration of the Spirit of God might burn in my heart and enlighten my understanding and keep me firm and faithful in serving my Heavenly Father. –Heber J. Grant


C'est La Vie said...

wow haha so i come over to check out your blog (which made me so happy) and i see this post and i gotta tell ya you make a fabulous RS president.
that lessons going to go great, best of luck to you!

aleisha said...

oh thank you so much! i really appreciate that! i love reading your blog as well...i'm not sure how i originally came across it, but it's so inspirational! : )
p.s. i think the lesson went really well!