I'd like to share an excerpt from a beautiful and inspiring Christmas message I came across early this Christmas Eve morning which was featured in Fosters Daily Democrat, a New Hampshire newspaper. It was a nice way to begin my Christmas Eve and I hope you will enjoy it, too.
Beginning tonight, we celebrate the precious gift of Christmas.
Christians will gather with their families and friends tonight and Friday to observe their holiest of holidays and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago. We celebrate the wonderful Christmas story about Jesus' arrival on Earth, His miraculous birth in a stable among the creatures who lived there and the humble shepherds with their flocks.
On this day, the swirl of world events slows, and we interrupt our workaday routines to create a time that allows us to remember the joy of the Savior's coming and how He changed humankind.
We give the telling of the Christmas story to our children. We dress them as angels and shepherds during pageants at churches, where they recreate for us the message of a story that is simple, yet repeatedly full of wonder.
By now, we have finished the preparations that go into the holiday. The joys and the stress of shopping in crowded malls, gift wrapping, decorating, and baking are memories of another season about to pass. So now it is time to relax and enjoy these days and become mindful of the meaning behind all our preparations.
If we look around us as we gather with our families at the tree on Christmas and hear what is in our hearts, we will understand that we already have the most precious gift that life has to offer. Christmas is a time for us to be mindful that love is the greatest gift of all ....
It is time for us to be thankful for all the blessings in our lives. And we use this day to renew our faith in Christ and to carry His message with us into a new year.
We take this time to remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves and to realize that for some people, the holidays can be a very difficult time — particularly difficult as additional tens of thousands of Americans pursue the cause of peace in far off Afghanistan and other troubled corners of the world, a peace humankind has sought since the earliest days of civilization. And here at home, millions of American struggle in the second year of a terrible recession.
We see Christmas as an opportunity and a hope for people of all faiths to make a difference in someone's life, perhaps that of a needy stranger or family otherwise overlooked as we rush to manage our own hectic lives.
Christmas is a wonderful time. It is a season to warm our hearts and our very being. Christmas reminds us of the goodness in the human spirit.
We create Christmas memories and follow our family traditions. The holidays help us mark the time as it passes. We remember our children's faces when special gifts were opened with their small hands. We remember the gaiety of family members around holiday table settings and the practical jokes we played on each other. We revel in our togetherness and talk about old times. And we remember the family members who have passed on — and how the traditions they brought to our holidays continue to live within us.
Merry Christmas, everyone!