President and Sister Dunn

Friday, December 5, 2014

Missionary Christmas

Inspiration this Christmas: Watch and Read the Following for a Christ Centered Christmas!

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Good Tidings
Christmas is about gifts. Always has been. But we all feel uncomfortable with the emphasis on materialism.  We admonish ourselves and those close to us to remember the true reason for the season, even when we have difficulty remembering it ourselves.

Let’s think about the real role of gifts in the Christmas story. Those gifts were wrapped in miracles, which is probably why we cannot find them at malls or stores or online. The first gift was of Spirit: Unconditional Love.
The next gift came from a Jewish teenager named Miriam, who was known to her family and friends as Mary. Her Christmas present was selflessness, the complete surrender of ego and will needed to bring Heaven down to earth.  The gifts of her fiancé, Joseph, were trust and faith. He trusted that Mary was not pregnant with another man’s child; he believed that there was a divine plan to get them through this mess.  The child brought forgiveness. Wholeness. Second chances. The angel’s gifts were tidings of comfort, joy and peace, that reassurance that there was nothing to fear, so rejoice.
The shepherd boy’s gifts were generosity; his favorite lamb for the baby’s birthday present. The innkeeper’s wife’s gifts were compassion and charity; a warm, dry, safe place for the homeless family to stay, her best coverlet to wrap the new mother and little one, a meal for Joseph, the donkey’s fresh hay. Three kings from the east traveled many hot, dusty miles following a bright star in search of royal birth. The sages divination foretold the coming of the King of Kings”, on their camels backs were treasures with which to honor his arrival.   But when they arrived in Bethlehem they found a newborn prince in a cow stall instead of a palace. The shocked Wise Men unwrapped gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but their Real gifts were wonder, acceptance and courage.  They offered wonder by surrendering logic, reason and common sense. Accepting the impossible, they suspended skeptism long enough to double cross King Herod, frantically searching for the child that would change the world.  With courage and at the risk of their own lives-the Wise Men helped the young family escape to a safe haven in Egypt.

Oh yes, Christmas is all about gifts. Nothing but gifts.  But such gifts.  Gifts tied with heartstrings. Gifts that surprise and delight. Gifts that transform the mundane into the miraculous. Gifts that nurture the soul of both the giver and the given.   Perfect gifts. Authentic gifts. The gifts of Spirit, a frightened teenage girl, her bewildered sweetheart, the Child, the angels, the shepherd boy, the Innkeepers wife. The gifts of the Magi.
Unconditional Love. Selflessness. Trust, Faith, Forgiveness. Wholeness. Second Chances, Comfort. Joy. Peace. Reassurance, Rejoicing. Generosity. Compassion, Charity. Wonder. Acceptance. Courage.

To give such gifts. To truly open our hearts to receive such gifts gratefully. 

I love this poem below sent to me from a missionary mom. I used it in our Mission Tour as I spoke about the "Gifts of the Season." I clearly remember feeling the pain and sacrifice of having a son gone for Christmas and the pure joy that came as we realized the purpose behind his service and sacrifice by our entire family.  I relate to the sweet words in this poem.

A Missionary Christmas

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn’t there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus. My decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and socks… no fun.
I’ve bought him all white clothes because this year I’m giving Christ my son.
I’ve spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I’ve re-read November’s Ensign, felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because this year I’m giving Christ my son.
I wonder how those Lamanite mothers gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion—their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence. I’ll miss his smile a ton.
For two years we will pray for him. I’m giving Christ my son.
I stare at his face when he’s not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He’s always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard. His choice and mine are one.
I’ll put my faith in God’s hand. This year, I’m giving Him my son.
Past gifts have lost their glitter. I think I finally understand
Christ’s birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It’s because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing’s done.
My gift has taken years to make. This year I’m giving Christ my son.
I know there’s One who understands the sacrifice I’m making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, the toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before. Greater love — there could be none.
For years ago God gave to me His only begotten son.
The hands I washed, the hands I held, the hands I taught to pray—
Now knock on doors to find the ones who will listen to what he’ll say.
Because I know Christ needs him until all the gathering’s done.
My gift has taken years to make. This year I’m giving Christ my son.
— Author Unknown

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