The month of December is upon us and the carols of Christmas echo around us. Children seem to have bigger smiles and an abundance of good will permeates the air. We just love Christmas and the joy of the season and I have come to believe that nowhere in the world is Christmas more anticipated and loved than in the Philippines. Few people decorate better than Filipinos and so in this joyous season, decorations abound, lights sparkle and a chorus of carols fills our homes, hearts, markets and malls.
But wait! What of Christ at Christmas? The Savior and His Messianic mission are the foundation stones of the true meaning of Christmas and surely we must ensure that He is not overshadowed by tinsel and twinkling lights.
There are some simple ideas that are tried and tested that will help you to put more of Christ in your Christmas season and the months that follow.
Central to our Area goals is the reminder to feast upon the word of Christ and there is no better time to feast than at Christmas. I recommend you begin by gathering your family to feast upon the Christmas story as it is recounted in the second chapter of Luke. Before gifts are unwrapped, unwrap the miracle of the birth of Christ by reading and pondering its significance to you and your family.
The Christmas lesson of Christ’s life of service is that we in turn can serve others in ways that show our love as He showed His love for us. Imagine the excitement generated and the lessons learned as we become secret servants to friends and neighbors. I can still hear the squeals of delight as my young children placed cookies at the door of someone in need of the love shown by acts of secret service.
There are also valuable Christmas lessons to be learned as families, branches and wards gather to sing songs of praise and adoration of Christ. There are at least two learning opportunities in this lesson, the first being the doctrine taught in the lines of many of the Christmas carols we sing and secondly the strength felt as voices unite to lift another.
I think of the Christmas lessons to be taught as you decorate your Christmas trees and your homes. The star is symbolic of the new star that guided the wise men (Matthew 2:2), the simple lights help us to remember that Christ is the true light (John 1:9) and of course there is the angel (Luke 1:26) who announced the pending birth of the Savior.
Yet another Christmas lesson is the gift of giving. Christ’s great gifts include the atonement which began in Gethsemane, continued on the cross at Calvary and ended as he voluntarily gave up his life and was resurrected so we, His spiritual brothers and sisters, may also be resurrected and live again. The Christmas season is another ideal moment in time where we can present to Christ the gift of our personal commitment to covenant keeping.
May the lessons of Christmas be well taught and learned this Christmas season.
As an Area Presidency, we love you and wish you all Maligayang Pasko.