Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Project

As I said in my previous post, this year I wanted to focus more on giving gifts rather than presents. My Primary kids were no exception to that. This is now my second Christmas as Primary President for the ward and last year we gave them candy canes for Christmas with a little note about the importance of the Shepherd's hook. I fine present, but I wanted to give them something more meaningful this year. In our Presidency meeting we talked about making them blocks for their room. Now I do not really enjoy doing crafts that much. I don't have the patience for them, plus I think I drew the short straw on talent with crafts. My sister has all the creative talent in our family. That being said, you know I must love all of my Primary kids to decide to make something for them especially something that involved mod podge :). Here are some pictures of what the blocks look like.

I told them all that we often build our testimonies one block at a time and we do it by following and having a knowledge of several different principles. These are the ones we focused on for their blocks.
1. They need to make choices to choose the right way.
2. They need to gain a testimony of the Temple and make it a goal to go there someday.
3. They need to know who they are and be happy with that.
4. They need to know that Jesus loves them and is there for them always.
5. It is important to follow the teachings of the Prophet and other leaders.
6. They need to always remember that they are A child of God. This will help them get through the hard things in life.

They can take this one block of teachings and principles and build on that to make their lives better and their testimonies stronger. It can serve as a reminder to them for the entire year and beyond. I hope that they know how much they mean to me and how much I enjoyed actually making these for them and see them as the gift they were intended to be.
Here are almost all of them once they were done. Many thanks to my counselors and secretary for all their hard work and talent in putting them together.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Life has been busy and I have been having fun with family and friends. I have a lot of thoughts to share with all of you, but it will have to wait until Christmas has calmed some. I do want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. This has been a special one for me since I have focused more on the reason for the season and less on the commercialism of it. It has been nice. I am so blessed to have my Savior in my life and to have been blessed for all that he has done for me. I leave you today only with these thoughts:
“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and the speak it again.” -Howard W. Hunter

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gifts vs. Presents

It has been a couple weeks since I posted. I have been busy with getting things ready for Christmas. There just seems to be so much to do at this time of year. This year for Christmas, I wanted to focus more on giving gifts rather than presents. Think about what that means. Anyone can give a present and many people think that is enough. They think that you can buy or spend enough to make up for things or win someone's friendship. While it might work initially, it isn't something that is lasting. I think about perhaps the man who cheats on his wife or is abusive and goes out and buys her a new diamond ring, a huge bouquet of flowers, or a new car. In giving the present, this person is wanting something in return. They want the bad deed forgotten, your friendship/loyalty bought, or forgiveness. They think that expensive things can fix these kinds of things. That you are somehow indebted to them by accepting it. A gift is different. It is something that comes from the heart. It is thought out and given with all the love intended. The person giving the gift doesn't expect anything in return. It has required more thought for me and perhaps a little more stress, but so far it has been worth it. I have always loved giving gifts, even more than receiving them. I love when someone is touched by the thought that went into my gifts. I feel it is a way for me to show my love for them and not just express it. I hope that those more thought out gifts will be ones that my loved ones will enjoy this year. It reminds me of the story, "The Gift of the Magi" and how a couple sacrifice their greatest treasures to buy each other gifts. The man sells his watch to buy beautiful combs for his wife's beautiful long hair. The wife sells her hair to buy a chain for the man's watch, a family heirloom. They both sacrifice for each other. The story ends with this wonderful quote:

"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."

We all have been given a wonderful gift and that is our Savior and the true reason we celebrate this season. So while I sometimes get caught up in the presents, the parties, the shopping, and the like, I need to remind myself of the greatest gift ever received. My Savior Jesus Christ, his love, his forgiveness, and his sacrifice. I am truly grateful for him and his love for me. My favorite Christmas song for many years now has been, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and it is because of one line in the song. In verse 2, it says "light and life to all he brings, Ris'n with healing in his wings". My Savior has always brought me light even when my heart was drowning in darkness. He has pulled me up into the light and healed my pain. It has been the greatest gift I have ever been given. It wasn't just a present given to those who are worthy and good, but it was a gift to all. "Light and Life to ALL he brings". I hope not just this Christmas I can focus more on gift giving rather than present giving and can always remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!