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Christmas Gifts

I love gifts. I love giving them and frankly, I love receiving them. But this Christmas, I realized how blessed I was even before Christmas morning. I truly have been given the most important, shiny and beautifully adorned gifts ever. I am grateful to be celebrating the birth of a BABY who would grow up to be the Savior of all mankind. He is the most important gift to me, for without His gift, all the other gifts would not last. My Savior, Jesus Christ, is the one gift, among all gifts, to be ultimately grateful for. He is the reason we give ourselves and gifts at this season of the year.
The other gifts I am grateful for, are as follows:
MY PILLAR OF STRENGTH. I was able to have my rock-of-a-husband home more often the week before Christmas (with almost no meetings or phone calls to distract him). And, for an added bonus gift, I was able to SIT BY him, have him put his arm around me like other couples (ooh la la), and then sing the hymns together during our Christmas Day church meeting. How I love hearing him sing! Wow, that was a special annual event. I could do that more often. Our anniversary is also in December and that always makes me remember how truly blessed and gosh-darn brilliant I was to marry this man.
Happy Anniversary Honey!

A FULL HOUSE. All of my children were healthy and happy as we spent time together celebrating the Christ child. With this being Tanner’s last Christmas physically in our home for two years, I was extra grateful for him, my sweet little December baby, born nineteen years ago.

How adorable… they all match and look so festive for Christmas Day!
BABY JuBean. Our own little “Baby Jesus” was here for her first Christmas. Having a baby at Christmas time always reminds me of the reason we can have lasting and Eternal joy—it’s all because a baby was born, Jesus Christ, the Babe of Bethlehem. Even though JuBean herself did not enjoy playing the role of the Christ child, she makes Christmas so fun and memorable. I am so grateful she is here with us now and that I listened to the still small voice reminding me that Julia was waiting to come to our family.

THE WORD. I am so grateful that we can teach our children the events and the people of the scriptures. The nativity always reminds me of those iconic characters in the Christmas story that teach us how to live so that we can come closer to Christ. I love Mary because she had a heart full of faith and love for God, and she acted on that faith and love. Joseph reminds me of service. He was Mary’s protector and guardian, and presided over his family with great care. The angel bore fervent testimony of God with power and joyful singing. The shepherds obeyed without delay and were blessed to “See God” because of their humility and diligence. The wise men were learned and educated but always seeking for knowledge that led directly to Christ. And of course the Christ child reminds me that we must all become like a child, pure and clean, to be worthy of His gift, the Atonement.

SERVICE TO GOD. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that changes lives of those willing to have a broken heart and contrite spirit. We were able to Skype with Brooks on Christmas afternoon from Duluth, Minnesota. Since he is immersed in gospel learning and teaching, he has the opportunity of being a representative of Christ 24/7. His heart has been broken, and his spirit seemed contrite as he expressed his love for the work and for those things that truly matter. I tried to hold in the tears and the squeals when I saw his adorable face come across the computer, but it didn’t work. True joy is something I am experiencing as I watch and hear from a son that has dedicated two years of his young adult life to spreading His “Great News”. My son’s life and heart has been changed because of serving the Lord.

FAMILY BONDS. A moment that caught me off guard and was unexpected, was the sweet moment when I witnessed two brothers passing each other on their separate paths of life. Elder B Trout begged T-Bob to play his guitar for him and bring back some memories of their lives before missions. I have known that these two sons, which are nineteen months apart, would over-lap on their missions ever since I was pregnant with T-Bob. Having 19 years to deal with that future situation, I still wasn’t prepared for the tender emotions I had seeing those two beg for more time together. Maybe the long awaited moment of reality had finally come. I had to leave the room as my tears would suggest a breaking mother’s heart for my sons. What a blessing though, to see their love for each other and that they are each other’s best friend.

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