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Sunday, December 26, 2010

holiday happenings

I didn't capture our Christmas in pictures only video and I'm super sad about it. But here are my kidos wishing you ALL a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (since walmart lost my xmas card order)

mr. bright eyes

Photo day with mommy

We like to pretend Arizona has winters

More photo day with mommy

my little "gangsta"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It happened...

The time has come that I feel the need to go private. I was hopeing to avoid this all together but maybe this isn't such a bad thing. I'll be able to see who really wants to read my blog hehehe!

Please send me your emails if you'd like to continue blog stalking me! I'll give you until the New Year then I'm making the switch.

Thanks everyone!

day 23

Here are the last two stories of the 25 days of Christmas. I hope you have enjoyed the messages shared and felt the spirit this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

"For behold, the time cometh and is not far distant, that with power the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity; to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in the tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles...and he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the creator of all things from the beginning..." (Mosiah 3:5-8)

The Gift of the Magi

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it.

When Della finished her cry, she attended to her cheeks with a powder puff. She stood by the window and looked out dully. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fin and rare and sterling--something just a bit near being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the looking glass. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let if fall into it's full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillinham Young's in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and grandfather's. The other was Della's hair.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. She did it up again nervously and quickly. She stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with a brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting.

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mess with a practiced hand.

"Give it to me quick." said Della.

Oh, the next two hours were rosy as she ransacked the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum watch-chain, simple in design, properly proclaiming it's value by substance alone and not by ornamentation-as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. Quietness and value-the description applied to both.

Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the eighty-seven cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap he used in place of the chain.

When Della reached home, she got out her curling irons and went to work. Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a school-boy. She looked at her relfection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me--But what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?"

Jim was never late. Della held the watch chain in her hand. She heard his steps on the stair and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please, God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two-and to be burdened with a family! He nodded a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim's eyes were fixed on Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her.

"Jim darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you wont mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say "Merry Christmas" Jim and let's be happy. You don't know what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, as he had not arrived at that fact yet.

"Cut if off and sold it," said Della, "Don't you like me just as well anyhow? I'm me without my hair, aren't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say yoru hair is gone?"

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold and gone, I tell you. Be good to me, for it went for you."

Out of his trance Jim seemed to quickly wake. He enfolded his Della in his arms.

Jim then drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going for a while at first."

White fingers tore at the string and paper, and then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to tears and wails, necessitating all of Jim's comforting powers.

For there lay The Combs-the set of combs that Della had wanted for so long. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell with jeweled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had yearned for them without the least hope of possession. And now they were hers--but the hair was gone.

She hugged them to her, and at length was able to look up with a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And then Della leaped up and cried, "Oh,oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her own bright spirit. "Isn't it a dandy, Jim?" I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have a look at the time a hundred times a day now, give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," he said, "Let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em awhile. They're too nice to use just now. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now, suppose you put dinner on."

Eight dollars a week or a million a year--What is the difference?

The Magi, as you know, were wise men-- who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Mage.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house, not a creature was praying, not one in the house.

Their scriptures were lain on the shelf without care in hope that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. And Mom in her rocker with the babe on her lap, was watching the late show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter, I sprange to my feet to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.

With a light like the Sun sending forth a bright ray. I knew in a moment that this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head, it was Jesus returning just like he said, and though I posessed worldly wisdom and wealth I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand, was written the name of every saved man. He spoke not a word as He searched for my name; when He said, "It's not here" my head hung in shame.

The peoples whose names had been written with care, He gathered to take to His Father above. With those who were ready, He rose without a sound, while the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was to late. I had waited to long and thus sealed my fate. I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight. Oh if only we had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem, the meaning is clear, the coming of Jesus is drawing near. There's only one life and when comes that last call, we'll find that the scriptures were true after all.

Tonight is Christmas Eve. This night, please read from the scriptures the real Christmas story:
Luke 1:26-38, 46, 47

Luke 2:1-20

Matthew 2:1-14


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

day 22

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship Him." (matthew 2:1-2)

A Different Kind of Christmas

Martha had tried to ignore the approach of Christmas. She would have kept it almost entirely out of her thoughts if Jed had not come eagerly into the cabin one day. stomping the snow from his cold feet as he said in an excited voice, "Martha, we're going to have a Christmas tree this year, anyway. I spotted a cedar on the rise out south of the wheat field, over near the Nortons place. It's a scrubby thing, but it will do since we can't get a pine. Maybe Christmas will be a little different here, but it will still be the kind of Christmas we used to have."

As she shook her head, Martha noticed that Daniel glanced quickly up from the corner where he was playing, patiently tying together some sticks with bits of string left over from the quilt she had tied a few days earlier. She drew Jed as far away from the boy as possible.

"I don't want a tree," she said. "We won't be celebrating Christmas. Even a tree couldn't make it the king of Christmas we used to have."

"Martha, we've got to do something for the boy at least. Children set such store by Christmas."

"Don't you think I know? All those years of fixing things for Maybelle and Stellie. I know all about the kids and Christmas."  She stopped and drew a deep breath, glancing over to see that Daniel was occupied and not listening. "But I can't do those things for him. It would be like a knife in the heart, fixing a tree and baking cookies and making things for another woman's child when my own girls are back there on that Prairie."

"Martha, Martha," Jed said softly. "It's been almost a year and half. That's over, and Danny needs you. He needs a Christmas like he remembers."

She turned her back to his pleading face. "I can't." she said.

Jed touched her shoulder gently, "I know how hard it is for you, Martha. But think of the boy." He turned and went back out into the snowy weather.

Think of the boy. Why should she think of him, when her own children, her two blue-eyed, golden-curled daughters, had been left beside the trail back there on that endless, empty prairie? The boy came to her not because she wanted him, but because she could't say "no" to he bishop back in Salt Lake City last April before they came to settle in this valley.

Bishop Clay had brought Daniel to her and Jed one day and said, "I want you to care for this lad. His mother died on the trek last summer and his pa passed away last week. He needs a good home."

Jed had gripped the bishop's hand and with tears in his eyes, thanked him, but Martha had turned away from the sight of the thin, ragged, six-year old boy who stood before them, not fast enough, however, to miss the sudden brief smile he flashed at her. A smile that should have caught her heart and opened it wide. Her heart was closed, though, looked tightly around the memory of her two gentle little girls. She didn't want a noisy, rowdy boy hanging around, disturbing those memories, filling the cabin with a boy's loud games.

Yet she had taken him, because she felt she had no choice. Faced with the bishop's request--more of an order, really--and Jed's obvious joy, she couldn't refuse.

He came with them out to this new valley west of the Salt Lake settlement and had proved himself a great help to Jed, despite his young age. Sometimes Martha felt pity for him, but she didn't love him. With Jed it was different. He had accepted Daniel immediately as his own son and enjoyed having a boy with him. They had a special relationship.

Daniel mentioned Christmas only once. One day it was too cold and snowy to play outside and he had been humming softly to himself as he played in his corner. Suddenly, he looked up at Martha and asked, "Can you sing, aunt Martha?"

Martha paused and straightened up from the table where she was kneading bread. She used to sing for her girls all the time. "No, I can't, Daniel," she said. "Not any more."

"My mother used to sing a pretty song at Christmas," he said. "I wish I could remember it."

On the day before Christmas, Jed went through the deep snow to do some chores for Brother Norton, who was ill. Daniel was alone outside most of the day, although he made several rather furtive trips in and out of the cabin. On one trip, he took the sticks he had been tying together.

Toward evening, Martha went out to the stable to milk Rosie, since Jed had not yet returned. As she approached, she saw there was light inside. Opening the door softly, she peered within. Daniel had lit the barn lantern, and with its glow, he knelt in the straw by Rosie's stall. In front of him were the sticks he had tied together, which Martha recognized now as a crude cradle. It held Stellie's rag doll, all wrapped up in the white shawl Martha kept in her trunk. Her first impulse was to rush in and snatch it, but she stopped because the scene was strangely beautiful in the soft light from the lantern. Rosie and the two sheep stood close by, watching Daniel. He seened to be addressing them when he spoke.

"The shepherds came following the star," he was saying. "And they found the baby Jesus who had been in a stable." He paused for a moment, then went on. "And his mother loved him."

Marthat felt suddenly that she couldn't breathe. Another mother another day, had loved her boy, and had told him the beautiful story of the Christ Child with love that he hadn't forgot it, young as he was. And she, Martha, had failed that mother.

In the silence she began to sing. "Silent night," she sang. "Holy night."

Daniel didn't move until the song was finished. Then he turned with that quick heart-melting smile.

"That's the one," he whispered. "That's the song that my mother used to sing to me."

Martha ran forward and gathered the boy into her arms. He responded immediately, clasping his arms tightly around her.

"Danny," she said, sifting on the edge of Rosie's manger. "Let's go in and get the cabin ready for Christmas. Maybe it isn't too late for Jed--for Pa to get that tree. It might be a little different kind of Christmas, but it will still be a little like the Christmas we used to know."

"Do you mind it being different?" Danny asked. "I mean with a boy instead of your girls?"

Martha wondered how long it would take her to make up to him for the hurt she had inflicted these many months. "No," she said. "After all, the Baby Jesus was a boy."

"That's right," he said wonderingly.

She set him down on the floor and put her arm around his shoulders.

"Merry Christmas," she said. "Merry Christmas, Danny."

He looked up at her with a smile that did not fade quickly away this time, a sweet smile full of love he had been waiting to give her.

"Merry Christmas," he said and then added softly, "Mother."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

day 21

"and this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:12-14)

Christmas is for Sharing

I knew that Homer had wanted boots for as long as I could remember. He was eleven and I ten, and we had spent many nights under the blue quilts at the cabin talking about how great it would be to have some real boots--boots that would climb through thorny bushes, that would ward off rattlesnakes, that would nudge the ribs of the pony; we had planned the kind of leather they should be and what kind of decoration they should have. But we both knew it was just talk. The depression had been hard on Father's business, and even shoes for school were usually half-soled hand-me-downs.

Christmas that year had promised as always to be exciting though mainly because of the handmade things we'd worked on in school for our parents. We never had money to spend on each other, but we had caught early in our lives a sort of contagion from our mother. She loved to give, and her anticipation of the joy that a just right gift would bring to someone, infected our whole household. We were swept up in breathless waiting to see how others would like what we had to give. Secrecy ruled--open exaggerated secrecy, as we made and hid our gifts. The only one whose hiding pace we never discovered was my Grandmother's. Her gifts seemed to materialize by magic on Christmas morning and were always more expensive than they should have been.

That Christmas I was glowing because Mother had been so happy with the parchment lamp shade I'd made in the fourth grade, and Father had raved over the clay jewelry case I had molded and baked for him. Gill and Emma Lou had been pleased with the figured I'd whittled our of clothespins, and Homer had liked the Scout pin I'd bargained for with my flint. Then Grandma started to pass out her presents.

Mine was heavy and square. I'd been in the hospital that year and then on crutches, and I'd wondered how it would be to have an erector set to build with. Grandma had a knack at reading boys' minds, and I was sure that's what it was. But it wasn't. It was a pair of boots, brown tangy-smelling leather boots.

I looked quickly to Homer's package. His was a sweater. He'd needed one all fall. I wanted to cover my box before he saw what it was. I didn't want the boots; they should have been his. He came toward me, asking to see, and I started to say, "I'm sorry, bruv." But he was grinning, and he shouted, "Hey everybody--look what Richard's got." He swooped the boots out of the box, fondled them like treasure, and then sat on the floor at my feet to take off my half-soled shoes and put on the brand new boots.

I don't remember how the boots felt, nor even how they looked. But Christmas rang in my soul because my brother was glad for me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

day 20

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. For unto you thisday in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:8-11)

The Sixth Word

Just a week before Christmas, "I had a visitor. This is how it happened, I had just finished the household chores and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room and to my surprise, Santa Clause himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree. He placed his fingers over his mouth so I would not cry out.

"What are you doing...?" I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone--gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know.

He then answered me with a simple statement of "Teach the children." I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there bewildered, Santa said again, "Teach the children, teach them the old meaning of Christmas--the meanings that Christmas nowadays has forgotten."

I started to say, "How can I.." when Santa reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star.

"Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ages ago. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was a sign of the fulfillment of that promise. The countless shining stars at night--one for each man--now show the burning hope of all mankind." Santa gently laid the star upon the fireplace mantle and drew forth from the bag a glittering red Christmas tree ornament.

"Teach the children red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all the people by the Savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that every man might have God's gift of Eternal Life. Red is deep, intense, vivid--it is the greatest color of all. It is the symbol of the gift of God."

"Teach the children," he said as he dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of the toy bag. He placed it before the mantle and gently hung the red ornament on it. The deep green of the fir tree was a perfect background for the ornament. Here was the second color of Christmas.

"The pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round," he said. " This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. All the needles point heavenward--symbol of Man's returning thoughts toward heaven. The great green tree has been man's best friend. It  has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him." Suddenly, I heard a soft tinkling sound.

"Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring for man to return to the fold--it means guidance and return. It further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord." As the soft sound of the bell faded into the night, Santa drew forth a candle. He placed it on the mantle and the soft glow from its tiny flame cast a glow about the darkened room. Odd shapes in shadows slowly danced and weaved upon the walls.

"Teach the children," whispered Santa, "that the candle shows man's thanks for the star of long ago. Its small light is the mirror of starlight. At first, candles were placed on the trees--they were like many glowing stars shinging against the dark green. The colored lights have now taken over in remembrance."

Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large bow and said, "A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as men should be tied, all of us together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow."

Santa slung his bag over his shoulder and began to reach for the candy cane placed high on the tree. He unfastened it and reached out toward me with it.

"Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherd's crook. The crook on the staff helps bring back the strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane represents the helping hand we should show at Christmas time. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keepers."

As Santa looked about the room, a feeling of satisfaction shone in his face. He read wonderment in my eyes, and I am sure he sensed admiration for his night.

He reached into his bag and brought forth a large holly wreath. He placed it on the door and said, "Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature love; it never ceases, stops or ends. It is the one continuous round of affection. The wreath does double duty. It is made of many things and in many colors. It should remind us of all the things of Christmas. Please teach the children." 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

day 19

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea unto the city of David, which is Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was that while they were there..she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:4-7)

Christmas Day in the Morning

He woke suddenly, and completely. It was four o'clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o'clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.

Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father's farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.

"Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He's growing so fast and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone."

"Well, you can't, Adam." His mother's voice was brisk. "Besides, he isn't a child anymore. It's time he took his turn."

"Yes," his father said slowly. "But I sure do hate to wake him."

When he heard these words, something in him woke; his father loved him! He had never thought of it before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children--they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm.

Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no more loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blind with sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes tight shut, but he got up.

And then on the night before Christmas, that year he was fifteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and the mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father always bought something he needed, not only a warm jacket, maybe but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too.

He wished, that Christmas he was fifteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had seemed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his window, the stars were bright.

"Dad," he had once asked when he was a little boy, "What is a stable?"

"It's just a barn," his father had replied, "like ours."

"Then Jesus ahd been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come..."

The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than four, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He'd do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went to start the milking, he'd see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughted to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what  he would do, and he mustn't sleep too sound.

He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match each time to look at his old watch--midnight, and half past one, and then two o'clock.

At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It ws too early for them too.

He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father's surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He'd go to the barn, open the door, and then he'd go to get the two empty milk cans. But they wouldn't be waiting or empty; they'd be standing in the milk house, filled.

"What the..." he could hear his father exclaiming.

He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant.

The task went more easily than he had ever known it to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father, who loved him. He finished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk house door carefully. Back in his room he had only a bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened.

"Rob!" his father called, "we have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas."

"Aw-right," he said sleepily.

The door closed and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body.

The minutes were endless--ten, fifteen, he did not know how many--and he heard his father's footsteps again. The door opened and he lay still.


"Yes, Dad--"

His father was laughing, a queer, sobbing sort of laugh.

"Thought you'd fool me, did you?" His father was standing beside his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover.

"It's for Christmas, Dad!"

He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father's arms go around him. It was dark and they could not see each other's faces.

"Rob, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing!"

"Oh, dad, I want you to know, I do want to be good!" The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love.

He got up and pulled on his clothes again and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh, what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the three younger children listen about how, he Rob, had got up all by himself.

"The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I'll remember it, son, every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live."

They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone; that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

day 18

"And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night but it was as light as though it was midday. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that had been given." (3 Nephi 1:19)

"The Smell of a Mothball"

Mrs. fruens used to pull her wagon from the store to her home a mile away. Summer and winter she was always dressed in black: shoes, dress, and sweater. Her brown grocery bags leaned like tired sentinels against the sides of her squeaking wagon.

One day as my brother Stew and I were splitting kindling and gathering icicles for a family frolic, we spotted Mrs. Fruens on her way to the store. "Wouldn't she be surprised if we chopped kindling for her monkey stove while she's gone," Stew burst out. The idea took hold immediately; we leaped on our bikes and sped to her yard.

Mrs. Fruens lived in a one-room frame house. A bed, table, chairs, a little carved hutch for knicknacks, a wall basin plumbed for cold water, and a stove for heating and cooking were all she had. Her husband had died thirty years earlier- shortly after they came to America.

Working quickly, we split and stacked a knee-high pile of wood, then hurriedly swept bark and twigs into a bucket for tinder. But we weren't soon enough. Before we finished, we heard the squeaks of wheels coming down the street. I was anxious; Mrs. Fruens had been taunted and teased too much. I was afraid we would not be welcome in her yard. Reaching the gate, she looked at us warily. Then her eyes moved to the stack of kindling and the tinder bucket. She glowed. Thrusting her key into the lock, she set her bags inside, then hugged us. It embarrassed me, but it did feel good. Taking us by the hand, she exclaimed, "You good boys. You very good boys. You cut me kindling for a week."

As we walked to the gate, she scurried into the house and emerged with a colorful can of hardtack candy. Smiling her toothless smile, she held out the can, which smelled of mothballs from having been stored in her closet with her woolens. "Take some," Stew whispered, "or she'll be hurt." She threw us a kiss as we left. We pedaled home in silence...

Years have passed, the neighborhood has changed and a freeway runs near the spot where Mrs. Fruen's house stood. But my mind often floods with the memory of a grateful old woman and two zealous boy chopping. That wood has given warmth many times. Once when chopped, twice when burned, and again and again whenever I pass by or smell the odor of a mothball.

Friday, December 17, 2010

day 17

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I unto the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets." (3 Nephi 1:13)

The Cobbler and His Guest

There once lived in the city of Marseilles an old shoemaker, loved and honored by his neighbors, who affectionately called him father Martin. One Christmas Eve as he sat alone in his little shop reading of the visit of the Wise Men to the infant Jesus, and of the gifts they brought, he said to himself, "If tomorrow were the first Christmas, and if this Jesus were to be born in Marseilles this night, I know what I would give him!" He rose from his stool and took from a shelf overhead two tiny shoes of softest snow white leather with bright silver buckles. "I would give him these, my finest work." Then he paused and reflected. "But I am a foolish old man," he continued... "The Master has no need of my poor gifts."

Replacing the shoes, he blew out the candle and retired to rest. Hardly had he closed his eyes it seemed, when he heard a voice call his name... "Martin! Martin!" Intuitively he felt a presence. Then the voice spoke again.... "Martin, you have wished to see me. Tomorrow I shall pass by your window. If you see me, and bid me enter, I shall be your guest at your table."

Father Martin did not sleep that night for joy. And before it was yet dawn he rose and swept and tidied up his little shop. He spread fresh sand upon the floor, and wreathed green boughs of fir along the rafters. On the spotless linen-covered table he placed a loaf of white bread, a jar of honey, and a pitcher of milk.

When all was in readiness, he took up his patient vigil at the window.

Presently he saw an old street-sweeper pass by, blowing upon his thin, gnarled hands to warm them. "Poor fellow, he must be half frozen," thought Martin. Opening the door he called out to him, "Come in, my friend and warm yourself, and drink something hot." And the man gratefully accepted the invitation.

An hour passed, and Martin saw a young, miserbly clothed woman, carrying a baby. She paused wearily to rest in the shelter of his doorway. The heart of the old cobbler was touched. Quickly he flung open the door. "Come in and warm while you rest," he said to her. "You do not look well," he remarked.

"I am going to the hospital. I hope they will take me in, and my baby boy," she explained. "My husband is at sea, and I am ill, without soup."

"Poor child," cried Father Martin. "You must eat something while you are getting warm, No? Then let me give a cup of milk to the little one. Ah! What a bright, pretty little fellow he is!.... Why, you have put no shoes on him!"

"I have no shoes for him," sighed the mother.

"Then he shall have this lovely pair I finished yesterday."

And Father Martin took down from the shelf the soft little snow-white shoes he had admired the evening before. He slipped them on the child's feet...they fit perfectly. And shortly the poor young mother went on her way, two shoes in her hand and tearful with gratitude.

And Father Martin resumed his post at the window. Hour after hour went by, and although many people passed his window, and although many people shared the hospitality of the cobbler, the expected guest did not appear.

"It was only a dream," he sighed, with a heavy heart. "I did hope and believe, but He has not come."

Suddenly, so it seemed to his weary eyes, the room was flooded with a strange light. And to the cobbler's astonished vision, there appeared before him, one by one, the poor street sweeper, the sick mother and her child, and all the people whom he had aided during the day. And each smiled at him and said: "Have you not seen me? Did I not sit at your table?" Then they vanished from his view.

At last, out of the silence, Father Martin heard again the gentle voice repeating the old familiar: "Whosoever shall receive one such in my name, receiveth me...for I was hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in...Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one the the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

day 16

"And behold, there shall be a new star arise, such as one ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven." (Helaman 14:5-6)

A Brother Like That

A friend of mine named Paul received a new car from his brother as a pre-Christmas present. On Christmas Eve, when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shiny car, admiring it.

"Is this your car, mister?" he asked.

Paul nodded. "My brother gave it to me for Christmas."

The boy looked astounded. "You mean your brother gave it to you, and it didn't cost you anything? Gosh, I wish..."

He hesitated, and Paul knew what he was going to wish. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels.

"I wish," the boy went on, "that I could be a brother like that."

Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively added, "Would you like a ride in my car?"

"Oh, yes, I'd love that!"

After a short ride the urchin turned, and with his eyes aglow said, "Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?"

Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile. But Paul was wrong again.

"Will you stop right where those steps are?" the boy asked. He ran up the steps. Then in a little while, Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his little polio-crippled brother. He sat down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up right against him and pointed to the car.

"There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas, and it didn't cost him a cent, and someday I'm gonna give you one just like it; then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I've been trying to tell you about."

Paul got out and lifted the little lad into the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable holiday ride.

That Christmas Eve, Paul learned what Jesus meant when He said, "It is more blessed to give..."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

day 15

"And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of His coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before He cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day." (Helaman 14:3)

The Great Walled Country

Away at the North End of the World, farther than men have ever gone with their ships or their sleds is a land filled with children. It's filled with children because nobody who lives there ever grows up. The King and Queen, the princes and courtiers, may be as old as you please, but they are children for all that. They play a great deal of the time with dolls and tin soldiers, and every night at seven o'clock have a bowl of bread and milk and go to bed.

There are all sorts of curious things about the way they live in the Great Walled Country, but this story is only of their Christmas season. One can imagine what a fine thing their Christmas must be so near the North Pole, with ice and snow everywhere; but this is not all. Grandfather Christmas lives just on the north side of the country, so that his house leans against the great wall and would tip over if it were not for its support. Grandfather Christmas is his name in the Great Walled Country; no doubt we would call him Santa Clause here. At any rate, he is the same person, and best of all the children in the world, he loves the children behind the great wall of ice.

One very pleasant thing about having Grandfather Christmas for a neighbor is that in the Great Walled Country they never have to buy their Christmas presents. Every year on the day before Christmas, before he makes up his bundles for the rest of the world, Grandfather Christmas goes into a great forest of Christmas trees that grow just back of the homes and fills the trees with candy and books and toys and all sorts of good things. So when night comes, all the children wrap up snugly, and they go into the forest to gather gifts for their friends. Each one goes by himself, so that none of his friends can see what he has gathered, and no one ever thinks of such a thing as taking a present for himself. The forest is so big that there is room for all the people and no one sees the secrets and presents, and there are always enough nice things to go around.

But there was once a time, so many years ago that they would have forgotten about it if the story were not written in their Big book and read to them every year, when the children in the Great Walled Country had a very strange Christmas. There came a visitor to the land. He was an old man, and was the first stranger, for very many years, who had succeeded in getting over the wall.

When this old man inquired about their Christmas celebration, and was told how they carried it out every year, he said to the king, "That is very well, but I should think that children who have Grandfather Christmas for a neighbor could find a better and easier way. You tell me you all go out on Christmas Eve to gather presents to give to one another the next morning? Why take so much trouble, and act in such a round-about way? Why not go out together, and everyone get his own present? That would save the trouble of dividing them again, and everyone could pick out just what he wanted for himself!"

They decided it was a very practical idea and so the proclamation was made, and the plan seemed as wise to the children of the country as it had to the king and his counselors. Everyone at some time had been a little disappointed with his Christmas gifts, and now there would be no danger of that.

On Christmas Eve they always had a meeting at the palace, and sang carols until the time for going to the forest. When the clock struck ten, everyone said, "I wish you a Merry Christmas!" to the person nearest him, and then they separated to go on their way to the forest. On this particular night it seemed to the king that the music was not quite so merry as usual, and that when the children spoke to one another their eyes did not shine as gladly as he had noticed them in other years; but there could be no reason for this, since everyone was expecting a better time than usual. So he thought no more of it.

There was only one other person at the palace that night who was not pleased with the new proclamation about the Christmas gifts. This was a little boy named Inge, who lived not far from the palace with his sister. Now this sister was a cripple, and had to sit all day looking out of the window from her chair; and Inge took care of her, and tried to make her life happy from morning to night. He had always gone to the forest on Christmas Eve and returned with his arms and pockets full of pretty things for his sister, which would keep her amused all the coming year. And although she was not able to go after presents for her brother, he did not mind at all, especially as he had other friends who never forgot to divide their good things with him.

But now, said Inge to himself, what would his sister do? For the king had ordered that no one should gather presents except for himself, or any more than he could carry away at once. All of Inge's friends were busy planning what they would pick for themselves, but the poor crippled child could not go a step toward the forest. After thinking about it for a long time, Inge decided that it would not be wrong, if, instead of taking gifts for himself, he took them altogether for his sister. This he would be very glad to do; for what did a boy who could run about and play in the snow, care for presents, compared with a little girl who could only sit still and watch others having a good time? Inge did not ask the advice of anyone, for he was a little afraid others would tell him not to do it, but he silently made up his mind not to obey the proclamation.

And now the chimes had struck ten, and the children were making their way toward the forest, in starlight that was so bright that it almost showed their shadows on the sparkling snow. As soon as they came to the edge of the forest, they separated, each one going by himself in the old way, though now there was really no reason why they should have secrets from one another.

Ten minutes later, if you had been in the forest, you might have seen the children standing in dismay with tears on their faces, and exclaiming that they had never seen such a Christmas Eve before. For as they looked eagerly about them to the low-bending branches of the evergreen trees, they saw nothing hanging from them that they had seen other Christmas Eves. No presents. No one could guess whether Grandfather Christmas had forgotten them, or whether some dreadful accident had kept him away.

As the children were trooping out of the forest after hours of weary searching, some of them came upon little Inge, who carried over his shoulder a bag that seemed to be full to overflowing. When he saw them looking at him he cried, "Are they not beautiful things? I think Grandfather Christmas was never so good to us before."

"Why, what do you mean?" cried the children. "There are no presents in the forest!"

"No presents!" Inge said. "I have a bag full of them." but he did not offer to show them, because he did not want the children to see that they were really all for his sister, instead of him.

Then the children begged him to tell them in what part of the forest he had found his presents, and he turned back and pointed them to the place where he had been.

"I left many more behind than I brought away," he said. "There they are! I can see some of the things shining on the trees even from here."

But when the children followed his footsteps in the snow to the place where he had been, they still saw nothing on the trees, and thought that Inge must be walking in his sleep, and dreaming that he had found presents. Perhaps he had filled his bag with the cones from the evergreen trees.

On Christmas Day there was sadness all through the Great Walled Country. But those who came to the house of Inge and his sister saw plenty of books and dolls and beautiful toys piled up about the little cripples chair, and when they asked where those things came from and were told, "Why, from the Christmas tree forest." And they shook their heads, not knowing what it meant.

The king held a council and appointed a committee to go on a very hard journey to visit Grandfather Christmas and see if they could find out what was the matter.

They had to go down Father Christmas's chimney and when they reached the bottom of it they found themsleves in the very room where Grandfather Christmas lay sound asleep. It was very difficult to wake him, but when they finally did, the prince, who was in charge of the committee said, "Oh, sir! We have come from the king of the Great Walled Country, who has sent us to ask why you forgot us this Christmas, and left no presents in the forest?"

"No presents?", said Grandfather Christmas. "I never forgot anything. The presents were there. You did not see them that's all."

The children told him they had searched long and hard and found nothing. "Indeed!", said Grandfather Christmas.

"And did little Inge, the boy with the crippled sister find none?" The committee had heard about that and didn't know what to say.

"The presents were there, but they were not intended for children who were looking only for themselves. I am not surprised that you could not see them. Remember, that not everything that wise travelers tell you is wise."

The Proclamation was made next year that everyone was to seek gifts for others!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

day 14

"And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world...and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before Him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of Him; and I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost came down out of heaven and abide upon Him in the form of a dove." (1 Nephi 11:27)

The Littlest Angel

Once upon a time--many, many years ago as time is calculated by men, but only yesterday in the Celestial Calender of Heaven--there was, in Paradise, a thoroughly unhappy, and dejected cherub who was known throughout Heaven as the Littlest Angel.

He was exactly four years, six months, five days, seven hours and forty-two minutes of age when he presented himself to the Gate-keeper and waited for admittance to the Glorious Kingdom of God.

Standing defiantly, he tried to pretend that he wasn't at all afraid. But his lower lip trembled, and a tear disgraced him by making a new furrow down his already tear-streaked face.

But that wasn't all. While the kindly Gate-Keeper was entering the name in his great Book, the littlest Angel, having left home as usual, without a handherchief, tried to hide the tell-tale evidence by sniffing. A most unangelic sound, which so startled the good Gate-Keeper that he did something he had never done before in all Eternity. He blotted the page!

From that moment on, the Heavenly Peace was never quite the same. The shrill, ear-splitting whistle of the littlest Angel could be heard at all hours through the golden Streets. It startled the Patriarch Prophets and disturbed their meditations. Yes, and on top of that, he sang off-key at the singing practice of the Heavenly Choir, spoiling its ethereal effect.

And, being so small that it seemed to take him just twice as long as anyone else to get to nightly prayers; the Littlest Angel always arrived late, and knocked everyone's wings askew as he darted into his place.

Although his behavior might have been overlooked, his appearance was even worse. It was first whispered among the Seraphim and Cherubim, and then said aloud among the Angels and Archangels, that he didn't even look like an angel!

And they were all quite correct. He didn't. His halo was permanently tarnished where he held onto it with one hot little hand when he ran, and he was always running. Even when he stood very still, it never behaved as a halo should. It was always slipping down over his right eye. Or over his left eye. Or else , just for pure meanness, slipping off the back of his head and rolling away down some Golden Street just so he'd have to chase after it!

Yes, and his wings were neither useful nor ornamental. All Paradise held its breath when the Littlest Angel perched himself like a sparrow on the very edge of a cloud and prepared to take off. He would teeter this way--and that way--but, after much coaxing and a few false starts, he would shut both of his eyes, hold his freckled nose, count up to three hundred and three and then hurl himself slowly into space!

However, owing to the fact that he forgot to move his wings, the Littlest Agnel always fell head over halo!

It was also reported that whenever he was nervous, which was most of the time, he bit his wing-tips!

Now anyone can easily understand why the Littlest Angel would sooner or later have to be disciplined. And so, on an Eternal Day of an Eternal Month in the Year Eternal, he was directed to present his small self before an Angel of the Peace.

The Littlest Angel combed his hair, dusted his wings and donned an almost clean garment, and then, with a heavy heart, trudged his way to the place of judgment.

He tried to postpone the ordeal by pausing a few moments to read the long list of new arrivals, although all Heaven knew he couldn't read a word. But at last he slowly approached a doorway on which was mounted a pair of golden scales, signifying that Heavenly Justice was dispensed within. To the Littlest Angel's great surprise, he heard a merry voice inside--singing!

The Littlest Angel removed his halo and breathed upon it heavily, then polished it upon his garment, which added nothing to his already untidy appearance, and then tip-toed in!

The Singer, who was known as the Understanding Angel, looked down at the small culprit, and the Littlest Angel instantly tried to make himself invisible by the ingenious process of pulling his head into the collar of his garment, very much like a snapping turtle.

At that, the Singer laughed, a jolly, heartwarming sound, and said "Oh! So you're the one who's been making Heaven so unheavenly! Come here, Cherub, and tell me all about it!"

The Littlest Angel ventured a look, First one eye. And then the other eye. Suddenly, almost before he knew it, he was perched on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and was explaining how very difficult it was for a boy who suddenly finds himself transformed into an angel. Yes, and no matter what the Archangels said, he'd only swung once. Well, twice. Oh, all right then, he'd swung three times on the Golden Gates. But that was just for something to do!

That was the whole trouble. There wasn't anything for a small angel to do. And he was very homesick. Oh, not that Paradise wasn't beautiful! But the Eath was beautiful, too! Wasn't it created by God, Himself? Why, there were trees to climb, and brooks to fish, and caves to play a pirate chief, the simming hole, and sun, and rain, and dark, and dawn, and thick brown dust, so soft and warm beneath your feet!

The Understanding Angel smiled, and in his eyes shown a memory of another small boy from long ago. Then he asked the Littlest Angel what would make him most happy in Paradise. The Cherub thought for a moment, and whispered in his ear.

"There's a box. I left it under my bed back home. If only I could have that?"

The Understanding Angel nodded his head. "You shall have it," he promised. And a fleet-winged Heavenly Messenger was instantly dispatched to bring the box to paradise.

And then, in all those timeless days that followed, everyone wondered at the great change in the Littlest Angel, for, among all the Cherubs in God's Kingdom, he was the most happy. His conduct and appearance was all that any angel could wish for. And it could be said, and truly said, that he flew like an angel.

Then it came to pass that Jesus, the Son of God, was to be born of Mary of Bethlehem of Judea. And as the Glorious tidings spread through Paradise, all the angels rejoiced and their voices were lifted to herald the Miracle of Miracles, the coming of the Christ Child.

The Angels and Archangles, the Seraphim and Cherubim, the Gate-Keeper, the Wing-Maker, yes, and even the Halo-Smith put aside their usual tasks to prepare their gifts for the Blessed Infant. All but the Littlest Angel. He sat himself down on the top-most step of Paradise and thought.

What could he give that would be most acceptable to the Son of God? At one time, he dreamed of composing a hymn of adoration. But the Littlest Angel was lacking in musical talent.

Then he grew excited over writing a prayer! A prayer that would live forever in the hearts of men, because it would be the first prayer ever to be heard by the Christ Child. But the Littlest Angel was too small to read or write. "What, oh what, could a small angel give that would please the Holy Infant?"

The time of the Miracle was very close at hand when the Littlest Angel at last decided on his gift. Then, on the Day of Days, he proudly placed it before the Throne of God. It was only a small, rough, unsightly box, but inside were all those wonderful things that even a Child of God would treasure!

A small, rough, unsightly box, lying among all those other glorious gifts from all the Angels of Paradise! Gifts of such radiant splendor and beauty that Heaven and all the Universe were lighted by their glory. And when the Littlest  Angel saw this, he suddenly wished he might reclaim his shabby gift. It was ugly. It was worthless. If only he could hide it away from the sight of God before it was even noticed!

But it was too late! The Hand of God moved slowly over all that bright array of shining gifts, then paused, then drooped, then came to rest on the lowly gift of the Littlest Angel!

The Littlest Angel trembled as the box was opened, and there, before the Eyes of God and all His Heavenly Host, was what he offered to the Christ Child. And what was his gift to the Blessed Infant? Well, there was a butterfly with golden wings, captured one bright summer day on the hills above Jerusalem, and a sky-blue egg from a bird's nest in the olive tree that stood to shade his mother's kitchen door. Yes, and two white stones, found on a muddy river bank, where he and his friends had played like small brown beavers, and, at the bottom of the box, a limp, tooth-marked leather strap, once worn as a collar by his mongrel dog, who had died as he had lived, in absolute love and infinite devotion.

The Littlest Angel wept. Why had he ever thought the box was so wonderful?

Why had he dreamed that such utterly useless things would be loved by the Blessed Infant?

He turned to run and hide, but he stumbled and fell, and with a cry and clatter of halo, rolled in a ball to the very foot of the Heavenly Throne!

There was an ominous silence in the Celestial City, a silence complete and undisturbed save for the sobbing of the Littlest Angel

Then, suddenly, the Voice of God, like Divine Music, rose and swelled through paradise!

And the Voice of God spoke,"Of all the gifts of all the angels, I find that this small box pleases Me most. Its contents are of the Earth and of men, and My Son is born to be King of both. These are the things My Son, too, will know and love and cherish and then, regretful, will leave behind Him when His task is done. I accept this gift in the Name of the Child, Jesus, born of Mary this night in Bethlehem."

There was a breathless pause, and then the rough box of the littlest Angel began to glow with a bright, unearthly light, then the light became a lustrous flame, and the flame became a radient brilliance that blinded the eyes of all the angels!

None but the Littlest Angel saw it rise from its place before the Throne of God. And he, and only he, watched it arch the firmament to stand and shed its clear, white, beckoning light over a stable where a Child was born.

There it shone on the Night of Miracles, and it's light was reflected down the centuries deep in the heart of all mankind. Yet, earthly eyes, blinded, too, by its splendor, could never know that lowly gift of the Littlest Angel was what men would call forever "The shining star of Bethlehem!"

Monday, December 13, 2010

day 13

"And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. The angel said unto me; behold the Lamb of God, yea even the Son of the Eternal Father! And I looked  and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at His feet and worship Him." (1 Nephi 11:20-24)

Ancient America Views the First Christmas

I looked and beheld of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. And (the) angel...said unto me: Behold the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

And...I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time...I...beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea even the Son of the Eternal Father! (Nephi, about  600 BC, 1 Nephi 11:13-21)

And the...angel...said unto me...Behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reighneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from Heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles...

And He shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of Heaven and earth, the creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name. (King Benjamin, about 124 BC, Mosiah 3:3-9

For behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people....And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. (Alma, about 83 BC, Alma 7:7, 10)

And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in Heaven, inasmuch that in the night before He cometh there shall be no darkness inasmuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

Therefore, there shall be one day and night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; shall know of the rising of the sun and also of it's setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkend; and it shall be the night before He is born.

And behold, there shall a new star arise, Such as one as ye never have beheld...(Samuel the Lamanite, about 6 BC, Heleman 14:3-5)

And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been in vain.

And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.

But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no nightr, that they might know that their faith hadnot been in vain

Now it came to pass that there was day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditons should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.

Now it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.

And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord, all the day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will both of the Father and of the Son-of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh, and behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.

And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the signal which had been given was already at hand.

And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.

For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.

And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was midday. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.

And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.

And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word. (Nephi, at the time of Christ's birth, 3 Nephi 1:4-21)