20 December 2012

Post on http://mormon.org/christmas

Hi all

See my post on http://mormon.org/christmas as I was thinking about some of my memories relating the reason for the season - see 'Join the Conversation: Share what Christmas means to you.'

I have once experienced the build up to Christmas in Berlin and England. But every other Christmas for me has been in the southern hemisphere where it is really hot! Having had the experience in the north I can appreciate better what is meant by the feeling of the season. For us the warmth of the Spirit is felt in a hot climate and there is no contrast with the chill of the air. We have a lovely experience, but it is a hot experience in the middle of hot weather, if you know what I mean? 

But one year I was working as a botanist in the Namib Desert and my Christmas day was spent with friends who were not at all religious. I reflected on their making merry and really enjoying Christmas, but with no thought of the 'reason for the season'. That contrast of the purpose for celebrating Christmas made it more special for me as I reflected on my normal Christmas at home with family, thinking about the Christ Child born in a manger in Israel. I often think of the fact that it was probably fairly hot weather in Bethlehem on the Passover season when He was born. So I don't feel that we are really missing out having hot Christmas weather. In a way it helps me to relate to the birth in Bethlehem. I hope that whether you have hot weather or cold weather, that you will think of the little Babe born, kicking and fidgeting as his Mighty Spirit grew accustomed to His small mortal frame as it was laid in the manger on that first night. So began His great mission of teaching, establishing His Church and introducing His Gospel, and ultimately atoning for our sins and ushering in the resurrection in the Gardens of Gethsemane and Golgotha thirty-four passover seasons later. Shalom!

I was at Sandwich Harbour that Christmas day in 1978. I recorded in my journal that the other five people in our group insisted on there being a Christmas tree, and 'in the absence of all else a branch of Tamarix usneoides, not unlike a cedar tree in general appearance, has been adorned with all sorts of makeshift decorations. It looks attractive, but I wondered just why they celebrate Christmas. Does the name Jesus Christ have any significance, or is it just a gay, socially acceptable time to get sozzled?'

I thought I had a photo of our makeshift Christmas tree, but I cannot find one. Sorry, it was a good tree considering the limitations.

Have a lovely Christmas with lots of thought about the Lord Jesus Christ as you celebrate His birthday, and think what gift you can give to Him.