Sunday, December 19, 2010

A beautiful gold candy cane is my second favorite piece of jewelry because of who gave it to me and what I learned from this precious gift: To find joy in the gift that has been given and in turn "learn to better receive, that we may truly rejoice in both the gift and “in him who is the giver of the gift.” ( A. Elder Merrill October G.C. 2006)

The pin was given to me by a girl name Arianna. Arianna was tweleve, yet had a mentality of perhaps a six year old. I haven't seen her since we left Texas ten years ago but I well remember her as a remarkably gifted girl filled with so much love that, I never knew her to see anyone but as her best friend.

One Sunday before Christmas waiting for Sacrament meeting to start, Airianna came to extend her regular welcome to me. In doing so, she admired a wreath pinned on my shirt. It was an old worn out piece that I got at a yard sale long ago. She touched it so reverently and adoringly that I could no longer keep it for myself. I asked her if she would like the pin. I wished I had the ability to paint the picture of her face with words, it showed sheer joy! She immediately asked me to pin it on her. In primary that day she showed everyone her newly adorned pin. You would have thought I had given her a priceless 'Smithsonian worthy' piece of jewelry. When in fact I had not. I think I may have paid fifty cents for it. However the value of the pin laid in the eye of the beholder and she adored her new gift. Behold, she rejoiced in that which is given unto her, also rejoiced in him who is the giver of the gift” (see D.&C. 88:33).

Oh, but wait, I was yet to be taught further from this little angel. After church she asked me if I could come over to her house because she had a gift for me. I tried to tell her I didn't need something in return but she was more than insistent. I had been home maybe twenty minutes when she called and asked if I could come over right now! Frankly, I was a little embarrassed. Her mother finally convinced me when she told me it would devastate her if I didn't come. As I got to their home, I saw Arianna waiting for me on the porch with a small box in her hand. When I opened the small box, I was speechless. I wasn't sure if she hadn't gone and got one of her mother's priceless piece of jewelry to give me. There inside the box was a gold candy cane, adorned with precious jewels, it was beautiful! How on earth could I accept such a gift, yet how could I not? Now it was my turn to learn to receive. I humbly accepted the gift, hugged Arianna as she quickly went on her way oblivious to the significance of the difference in the monetary value of her gift from the one I had given her. Even now as I contemplate, what I consider, my insignificant gift to her I am amazed. Her ability to see beauty and great worth in even something so insignificant to me or the rest of the world will always be an example to me of our Savior.

As we proffer our seemingly insignificant gift; A broken heart, a contrite spirit, to our Savior, He lovingly accepts it, then in return offers a gift so incomparable that we can only marvel in awe of the goodness, no even the greatness of His gift.

And so this Christmas Eve I will wear my pin as yet another reminder of the perfect gift given to us so many years ago; A gift, we can open anew, each and every day as we adorn our lives with His love. As I remember Arianna's outstretched hands so excited to receive my gift, I further understand the Savior's outstretched hands awaiting my simple offer and find peace in knowing that if my heart is pure, (as Arianna's) that through Him, and by Him it is enough.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two of my Favorite Things

Each year at Christmas time I enjoy pulling out the little box that holds all my Christmas jewelry. It holds a potpourri of items but two, are my favorite. One I choose to wear, always, first. It is a pin given to me by a friend (Kami Wallace) years ago when we lived in Arlington, Texas. The pin itself is a Nativity. For a few years Marsha Jacobson (another wonderful friend) and myself were assigned the opportunity to decorate a room for our annual stake Nativity Display. I think I can speak for Marsha in that, we found much joy as we would contemplate, plan and carry out that assignment.

One year I learned a particularly important lesson. Marsha and I had decided that 'this year' we would decorate the room to represent downtown Bethlehem. Marsha, the guru of anything, had saved some old packing foam pieces and figured out if we sliced them like bread, painted them and glued them to a fake wall, they would resemble stone. Indeed they did, it was amazing. Then Marsha (guru, remember?) had come across and old wooden cart. Somehow she managed to get it home to be utilized in the room. We made loaves of bread and hung herbs. We even went down to a local creek and fished out rocks AND mud to create a well. The final touch; live doves in a cage, symbolic, right? The room was amazing! Then we carefully placed the assigned Nativities given to us throughout the room. Upon completion, as we stood back and marveled at our hours of work...we were, well... disapointed. It was not as we had imagined it. Don't get me wrong, the decorating was in and of itself fantastic, but we had found a flaw, a HUGE flaw! In an effort to create the "perfect room" to display the Nativities, the decorations had usurped the attention of the room; The Nativities were hardly noticed. We had overshadowed the very thing the room had been created for.

I was taught much at that moment. One lesson is very obvious, sometimes we can spend so much time in the fancy displays of Christmas that we lose sight of the most important thing about it; Christ. Sometimes you may, I know I have, think Christ needs something fantastic to display His love, not only in our homes but in our personal lives. Certainly the decorations are a wonderful part of the season but my pin reminds me He was born, not in a fancy palace, but in an unassuming, humble stable. May I never allow the world and all it's elaborate displays to distract, to overshadow my very purpose here on earth; to remember him, to follow Him, to be like Him, to return home to Him.

And so each Christmas time I reverently place my Nativity pin first, and foremost over and upon my heart. That I might remember Him, that in all the fun and wonderful moments of Christmas time, I don't allow Christ to get lost in Christmas.

See next post for second favorite Christmas jewelry.