A Christ Centered Christmas Celebration by LDS Living + Don’t Miss This (Day 2 – Joseph)

Hi, everybody! I’m David Butler. I’m Emily Freeman. Welcome back to our week-long, Christ-centered Christmas celebration. If you’re just joining us, each day this week leading up to Christmas, we are doing a short video to highlight one person from the Nativity story. Each day, you can expect to learn a little bit more about their story, the lesson that they teach, and a tradition that will help you to remember what you have learned about them. Today is day two, and we are looking at the story of Joseph. You ready? Ready. Okay, let’s go. In Luke chapter two, we read “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, into . . . the city of David . . . to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. . . . And there was no room for them in the inn.” One of the things we like first off is if you look down in the footnote, you find out that there wasn’t just no room for them in the inn but the inns, which means that they probably went from place to place to place trying to find it. As a husband and a father who’s taken a very pregnant wife to the hospital before . . . Several times. Yes, several times, I can relate to this feeling of anxiety, especially on that first baby. And then to find out that there was no room, and then to be taken to a stable, or to a cave, for her to deliver this child that was not only their first child but also to be the Son of God, and what it must have been like for them to get that stable ready. We love this quote from Elder Holland where he said, “I wonder what emotions Joseph might have felt as he cleared away the dung and debris. I wonder if he felt the sting of tears as he hurriedly tried to find the cleanest straw and hold the animals back. I wonder if he wondered, ‘Could there be a more unhealthy, a more disease-ridden, a more despicable circumstance in which a child could be born? Is it wrong to wish this mother some comfort?'” Every time I hear the story of Joseph, I think to myself, “What would I have done if I was there?” In fact, every time I read it, honestly, I think to myself, “Where was the Relief Society in that moment?” Like, “Shouldn’t someone have brought a blanket? Who was bringing dinner in? Someone should have been there to help.” As I was thinking about all those things, I thought, “I would love to come up with a tradition that would help us to remember those secret acts of service that we could be doing at Christmas.” And so we sat down as a family and we told our kids if they would save up money, each of them individually for their secret act of service, we would match that, whatever it was. My daughter Megan was a peer tutor, and I can remember she saved up her money for this cute boy that she was working with at the school. The boy’s family did not have very much money, and he had a pair of shoes that he would wear every single day and he wanted a pair of Nike shoes so bad and so they colored the Nike swoosh onto his shoe with a black Sharpie marker. And when he wore it, he would point it out every time. And the boys at lunch would invite him to play basketball with him and he thought he was better because of the swoosh on his Nike shoes. Well he probably was. Yeah, I think so. So Megan decided she was going to buy that boy a pair of Nike shoes. And she saved up her money and we matched it and I’ll never forget her going and spending that afternoon picking out the perfect pair of shoes. One of the things I love most about this story is that Megan knew that would probably be the nicest gift that boy received that year for Christmas. And so instead of giving it to him herself, or writing her name on it, she put it on the porch with the mom’s name on it so that if the mom wanted she could give the gift to that boy. After the Christmas break was over, that boy showed up with that pair of shoes on and he came in and he sat down by Megan and he said to her, “Megan, this is going to be my best basketball day so far, look at my shoes.” I love the stories that we have collected over the years from these secret acts of Christmas kindness that my kids and our family have participated in throughout the years. And every time I think about those stories, it just reminds me of Joseph and how we could have done something. We could have been there. We could have shared that burden with him. Yeah and almost in honor of Joseph, and Mary, and that first Christmas, we can continue to do that. Ya’ll, all year long people have hardships and they feel sorrow, but particularly at Christmas time there are people who feel loneliness and they feel depression and they feel isolated and it is such a great time of year to open up our hearts and our wallets and our spiritual gifts and whatever to try and ease those burdens and those loads. You can choose any Nativity you want for this. We chose a Nativity made by Kate Lee and we chose it because we love the figure of Joseph. And one of the reasons why we love it is because it’s the only Nativity we have found where he is holding the baby Jesus in his arms. What we want you to do is, after you have had time to learn the story of Joseph and the lesson that he teaches and you talk about how you’re going to participate in the tradition, then you want to add Joseph into your waiting stable. And as you do that, we want you to think about this, “Joseph represents the desires of our hearts. He reminds us of the secret acts of Christmas kindness given with sacrifice and love to the broken, the weary, the lost, and the lonely.” So the invitation for Joseph is exactly what you hoped it would be. To perform a secret act of kindness. It can be anything. It can be something like buying a new pair of shoes. Or it can be something smaller, just depending on your circumstances or the people that you’re looking for, but just whatever it is, we hope that you will look for those people who are in need of a secret act of kindness, and perform it. And here is the tradition, in our family, we have created a reminder that helps us to look for these secret acts of Christmas kindness we could be performing. We actually us a jingle bell to help us because every time we hear this jingle bell, it reminds us to be looking for people who need a little bit of kindness. My boys just put this bell in their pocket and it’s there all day long on the day that we’re remembering Joseph. My girls and I like to wear ours on our wrists, maybe you would like to do something like that. And I think I’m just going to keep mine in my pocket. Whatever you do, the important thing is that you remember secret acts of kindness, just like Joseph. Okay, that’s it for today. Tomorrow, we are doing the story, invitation, and tradition with Mary. See ya then.

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