Day 7 – Jesus: A Christ-Centered Christmas Celebration by LDS Living + Don’t Miss This

Happy Christmas Eve everybody! I’m David Butler. I’m Emily Freeman. We are so excited that y’all are here. This is day seven of our weeklong, Christ-centered
Christmas celebration. We’ve done one through six, all the different
people in the Nativity, it’s been such a fantastic week. And today, we get to talk about Jesus. Little baby Jesus. We’re so excited. It’s going to be so good. So glad y’all are here. We want to start out today with a story. One of my favorite memories of my kids growing
up. When Caleb was three, we were getting ready for
Christmas, and what we didn’t have for Christmas decorations was a Nativity scene. And I wanted one so bad, but we just did not
have enough money. And then I got this rare opportunity to do
this job four afternoons in December and it would make just enough money that I could
actually purchase this little, tiny Nativity set. And Greg and I decided that would be fine. It was like the nicest Christmas decoration
that we had. And I can remember coming home that day with
it, and setting it up, and setting out all the people just like they were supposed to
be. This was a lot of years ago so the figurines,
those of you who are my age are going to know, were the little Precious Moments people, all
white, glass, the were little kids which I loved because my kids were so little. I got it all set out, and I stopped to look
at it several times a day. Well Caleb was three, and it was just at his
level. And so I brought him over once it was all set out, and I stood him right in front
of it and I said to him, “This is Mom’s Nativity. It’s so fragile. We don’t touch it. We just look at it with our eyes.” And he nodded his head that he knew that was
right and went on with his day, and everything was good all that day. The next morning we woke up and we kind of
had a routine in our house—I would dress Caleb, he would go downstairs, I left out a
cup of Cheerios, he would go down, turn on the TV, it was all ready for him to watch
a show, I had a half hour to get ready, and then I would follow behind him. And on my way down the stairs I did what you
always do when you just purchase something new. The very first thing I looked at was my Nativity. Everyone was piled on top of each other, the
whole Nativity was just like in a jumble. I was so worried, I got it all out. I put everybody back the way they were supposed
to be. And then I went down and got Caleb, and I brought him up and I stood him in front
of the Nativity and I said to him, “This is fragile. We don’t touch it with our hands, we just
look at it with our eyes.” And he nodded his head to me, he knew what
I was talking about. And I said to him, “If you want to look at
it, you have to put your hands in your pockets while you look at it.” And he nodded his head and it was fine for
the rest of the day, the whole day. She’s so bossy. Then the next morning, same thing. Woke up Caleb, went and got his Cheerios,
started his show, I got ready, he came down the stairs, looked over, disaster. I didn’t even go check on people. I just went down and got Caleb and I brought
him up and I stood him right in front of the Nativity. And I said to him, “Did you touch this?” And he nodded his head yes. And I said to him, “Did you know you’re not
supposed to touch it?” And he nodded his head yes, that he did. And so I said to him, “Then why did you touch it?” And I’ll never forget, he just looked up at
me and he had the cutest big blue eyes, and chubby little 3-year-old fingers, and he said
to me, “Because they can’t see the baby.” And I looked down and I realized, he had taken
all those pieces and he had put them all head down on the baby. Everybody had a bird’s eye view of the baby. And so we stood there together, both of us right next to each other, and I carefully
put all of those people back. But instead of putting them the way you always
do in a responsible Nativity, I put everybody in a circle shoulder to shoulder, all the
way around so everybody could see the baby the same. I still have that Nativity, it’s one of my
favorite ones. And every year when I set it up, I set everybody
up in a circle because what I want to remember is how important it is for us to see the
baby. There are a lot of traditions we’ve talked
about throughout this week, and a lot things that your family does already, and a lot of
celebrations at Christmastime, and we really should. We should rejoice, we should party, we should
give gifts, we should sing, and all those things, but we just need to make sure that
we don’t miss the baby. That is how Christmas began. It began with God’s greatest gift that came
to the world wrapped up in swaddling clothes. You remember the angel said, “For unto you
is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” And that is God’s greatest gift to the world. And that great gift of love from God prompted a gifting
and a giving in return. The innkeeper made room, and Joseph acted with kindness, and
Mary pondered in her heart, the angels rejoiced, and the shepherds shared the good news with
haste, and the wise men journeyed another way. And the question is, at this special time of
year, is what will you do because of that great gift? When you are done talking about the lesson
of the Christ child, we invite you to take that last figure of the Christ child and place
it into the Nativity scene. Just as a reminder of where your focus is
going to be starting today and from this year forward. And this is the invitation for day
number seven, and it is to give the gift of your heart to Him. Especially after you’ve realize that He gave
the gift of His heart to us. The Christ child reminds us to offer a gift
to the Lord this Christmas season, a gift based on the true work of Christmas, one that
will allow us to focus on Christ all year long. We love a poem by a man named Howard Thurman. He says this, “When the song of the angels
is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and the princes are home, when
the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins: To find the lost,
to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among brothers, to make music in the heart.” We love this idea of this work of Christmas. That Christmas actually began when the shepherds
went home, and when the star was gone, and when the angels went back up into the heavens. That’s when the work of Christmas begins and
it’s going to go forward, throughout this whole year. So this is the tradition: get a card for every member of your family, and then take sometime—sometime today or tomorrow to sit down and think about,
“What is the gift you want to give to Jesus Christ this year?” My mother-in-law started this tradition many
years ago, and on that first Christmas we all wrote in our cards, we sealed them in
the envelope, and she kept them at her house and she was going to get them out the next
year. And then the next year when it was Christmas,
we did all of Christmas. And at the very end, all of a sudden, she remembered about the Jesus
gift tradition, and she had forgotten to buy cards. And she was so worried about it. She ran in the back room, she got the cards
from the last year, she wanted us to all be able to read the gift that we had said we were going
to give, and she was just devastated that we weren’t going to be able to do it again. And then we were like, “Wait, why don’t we
just write our gift for the next year under our gift from last year?” So we dated the last year, and then we wrote
our gift for this year. Well we have been doing that for probably
10 years now, and every year she gets the cards back out and we go through and read. And I
look back at gifts we have given to Jesus over the past 10 years they are so tender. And as I look back at those gifts, I see how our family has been
strengthened through that sacrifice and that dedication, but also through that gifting
that you talked about as we turn our hearts to Him and we let the work of Christmas begin. This is such a beautiful time of year to remember
how good God has been to us and to just try in some small way to return our love to Him
because of how much He’s shown toward us. This has been such a fantastic week together,
we’re so excited and we just want to wish you a merry, merry Christmas and hope that
the spirit of Christ fills your home and heart today and throughout the rest of the year. Thank you and Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas.

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  1. Thank you Emily, Thank you David, for sharing this wonderful week with us, our hearts have been rekindled, faith renewed and understanding broadened. I could hardly wait to hear what wonderful things we would learn the next day. Some thing’s you talked about I’ve been taught all my life but felt like it was the first time I ever heard it. Like I was there, Thank you for that. Love you Both ❤️

  2. Maybe for those who can't be together because of distance. A set time for video chat would be how technology can be a blessing 🙏❤️. Thank you so much for this whole 7 days. May our vision be 2020 on Christ.

  3. This has been the best gift to me this year – to have the 7 days of Christmas. I love the tender stories, the invitations, and the way it has helped me to focus on the birth of the Savior and all that He truly means and is for all! Thank you for you time and effort!

  4. Thank you for these beautiful gifts! Oh how my heart is bursting with love for my Savior! I will treasure the thoughts and feelings! Merry Christmas!

  5. My brother is a devout Chrisian and he's recovering from skin disease. I'd like to arrange him a aspergillum seremony. What type of birds should I use building the aspergillum?

  6. Can I adopt you two? I want to have you both 7/24 by my side 😍. It’s kind of a drop of what we feel when we get to know the Savior. Merry Christmas everyone. The most wonderful time of the year.

  7. I bought a “toy” nativity my first grandchild’s Christmas. Last year I decided to leave it out on a low table in my family room all year. It’s been a tiny way we can all remember Jesus all year long. Thanks Emily and David for the gifts you have given me for scripture study this past year. I’m excite to start using the Book of Mormon study together.

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