Believe or Not to Believe?
Beautiful Artwork by Greg Olson
When my children were small I hesitated to include Santa Claus in my holiday decorations because I didn't want the season to be focused on the gifts that Santa would bring. But I had had so much love for Santa when I was a child...he had been so much a part of the magic of the season. I knew that the birth of Jesus was the reason we celebrated...Primary lessons and Nativity programs added to the joy and anticipation. The singing of hymns and caroling with my teachers and class mates helped make the season bright. But I just couldn't bear to have Christmas without Santa. He had always been kind to me.
Today I found a blog post on LDS Living titled "What Prophets Have Said About Santa Claus." What I read warmed my heart... they were saying I could BELIEVE! Their words put it all in perspective. Here are just a few of the quotes:
David O. McKay
"It is a glorious thing to have old St. Nicholas in our hearts and in our homes today, whether he enters the latter through the open door or creeps down the chimney on Christmas Eve. To bring happiness to others without seeking personal honor or praise by publishing it is a most commendable virtue..."
Boyd K. Packer
"I want to emphasize that I have no quarrel with that well-fed gentleman with the red suit and the white whiskers. He was very generous to me when I was a boy, and we are looking forward with great anticipation to his visit at our home. All of those things with reference to Christmas are appropriate and good, and all of them are for children...except, I suppose, the mistletoe."
John A. Widtsoe
There are men who object to Santa Claus because he does not exist! Such men need spectacles to see that Santa Claus is a symbol; a symbol of the love and joy of Christmas and the Christmas spirit. In the land of my birth there was no Santa Claus, but a little goat was shoved into the room, carrying with it a basket of Christmas toys and gifts. The goat itself counted for nothing; but the Christmas spirit, which it symbolized, counted for a tremendous lot."
Ezra Taft Benson
As a boy I loved going to the canyon to cut our Christmas tree and I always tried to get one that reached to the ceiling. Though we received only a few gifts, our stockings were filled with fruit, nuts, and candy, and Santa always left something. Like all children, we suffered terrible anticipation at Christmastime...until, that is, we happened onto the Santa Claus costume in the bottom of an old trunk. Suddenly the secret was out. So that was why Father was always out doing chores when Santa came on Christmas morning."
Christmas Spirit Can Be Renewed...
I have struggled with my holiday spirit this year. What used to be a holiday hustle and bustle...like in the song "Silver Bells"... has turned into a mad scene of chaos that starts right after dinner on Thanksgiving...no breather, and seemingly no chance to connect with family and enjoy each other's company. I just feel tired rather than joyful. I want to return to Christmas Past. I want to visit Mary Pulley's house in American Fork for her Christmas Nativity and get a treat from Santa. I want to drive all over town and "ooh and ahh" over the simple lights on simple houses which to me looked the colored sprinkles on Christmas cookies. No admission charges!
How I remember Christmas in American Fork.
I miss Santa with his reindeer pulling the little sleigh.
Santa's Christmas Train...such a delight!
I wish I could go back again with my Harrington School classmates to the fire station and receive a bag of candy, nuts and oranges from the firemen. So much happiness to be found back then. It's time I looked for the joy of the 2014 season. The words of beloved Church leaders give me hope for Christmas Present...I can BELIEVE! Let me leave you with one last quote from Jeffrey R. Holland:
A little family...
Jeffrey R. Holland
"The memory of that night would bring Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph...and all would be welcome. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby...that's how Christmas began."
Dear Sisters, I wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas