Thursday, December 20, 2007

Will the Christ Child Come?
Written by Gaye Willis

One Christmas we had an interesting experience that I would like to share.
Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening things when there
was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small package with a beautiful
ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the calendar and realized that the 12 days
of Christmas were beginning! We waited excitedly for the next night's surprise
and only then, with the gift of a matching shepherd, did we realize that
the lamb was part of a nativity set.

Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive.
Each was exquisitely beautiful. The kids kept trying to catch the givers
as we slowly built the scene at the manger and began to focus on Christ's birth.

On Christmas Eve, all the pieces were in place, all but the Baby Jesus.
My 12-year-old son really wanted to catch our benefactors and began
to devise all kinds of ways to trap them. He ate dinner in the minivan,
watching and waiting, but no one came. Finally, we called him in to go through
our family's Christmas Eve traditions. But before the kids went to bed, we
checked the front step - - no Baby Jesus! We began to worry that my son
had scared them off. My husband suggested that maybe they dropped the Jesus
and there wouldn't be anything coming. Somehow, something was missing that Christmas Eve.

There was a feeling that things weren't complete. The kids went to bed and before
I went to bed, I again checked to see if the Jesus had come - - no, the doorstep was empty.
In our family, the kids can open their stockings when they want to, but they have to wait
to open any presents until Dad wakes up. So one by one they woke up very early and I
also woke up to watch them. Even before they opened their stockings, each child
checked to see if perhaps during the night the Baby Jesus had come.

Missing that piece of the set seemed to have an odd effect. At least it changed
my focus. I knew there were presents under the tree for me and I was excited
to watch the children open their gifts, but first on my mind was the feeling of
waiting for the ceramic Christ Child. We had opened just about all of the presents
when one of the children found one more for me buried deep beneath the limbs of the tree.

He handed me a small package from my former visiting teaching companion.
This sister was somewhat less-active in the church. I had been her visiting teacher
for a couple of years and then, when she was asked to be a visiting teacher, she requested
to go with me. I had learned over time they didn't have much for Christmas, so that
their focus was on the children. It sounded like she didn't get many gifts to open,
so I had always given her a small package -- new dish towels, the next year's Relief
Society lesson manual -- not much, but something for her to open.

I was touched when at church on the day before Christmas, she had given me this
small package, saying it was just a token of her love and appreciation. As I took
off the bow, I remembered my friendship with her and was filled with gratitude for
knowing her and for her kindness and sacrifice in this giving me a gift. But as the
paper fell away, I began to tremble and cry. There in the small brown box was
the Baby Jesus! He had come!

I realized on that Christmas Day, that Christ will come into our lives in ways that
we don't expect. The spirit of Christ comes into our hearts as we serve one another.
We had waited and watched for Him to come, expecting the dramatic "knock at the door
and scurrying of feet" but He came in a small, simple package that represented service,
friendship, gratitude and love.

This experience taught me that the beginning of the true spirit of Christmas
comes as we open our hearts and actively focus on the Savior. But we will most
likely find Him in the small and simple acts of love, friendship and service that we
give to each other. This Christmas I want to feel again the joy of knowing that Christ
is in our home. I want to focus on loving and serving. More than that, I want to open
my heart to Him all year that I may see Him again.

3 Words to brighten my day:

Lexi, Troy and Peyton said...

That's such a sweet story. I would be really anxious for Jesus to arrive too since we don't have a nativity and it would seem like it wasn't commplete without him. I just ordered the Fisher Price Little People 'First Christmas' playset for Peyton this year. I'm so excited to get it because it will be the first nativity I've ever had in my entire life (even while growing up). Even though it's a toy, I think there's something special about seeing Mary and Joseph and the wise men all adoring the little baby Jesus- it just makes your heart warm. Thanks for this post!

Jenn Wilson said...

Thanks for sharing that jess. That is really a great idea for Christmas to keep focus on why we Celebrate it. I would love to know where you got it from or heard it from.

jessica and bart said...

i got this as a forwarded email from my dad from my non-LDS great uncle Ab. my dad's email contained the message, "I wonder if he knows what a visiting teacher is"
oh, and my dad thinks this story originated in LA.