Every night of the week preceding Christmas, I try to do a little devotional with the kids. It's based on the Christ-Centered Christmas book. We read some scriptures about one of the figures central during the Savior's birth, we watch a related Bible video, sing a song, and I give them a figure to add to their own little nativity set. It's important to me. But it's not important to them. I'm hoping it will be some day. But it's hard on nights like this when Hazel prattles on the entire time about baby Jesus and why the angels in the video don't have wings and Henry throws his angel figure up in the air over the over again, trying to catch it, and Meg puts hers in her mouth (???) and then complains that she already saw the Mormon.org video "A World without Jesus" in Primary and when none of the kids had even heard of the song A Little Town of Bethlehem, yet they know all of the words to Frosty, Rudolph, and Rockin' around the Christmas Tree.
At least the devotionals have been good for me--they've helped me re-focus each night, even when they haven't helped me refrain from losing my temper. Tonight I got to think about the anticipation of Christmas. That feeling that I still remember from my childhood that's so keenly part of the magic of Christmas. I explained to the kids that if they magnified that feeling by 100, they still would not come close to the anticipation that we felt the night the Savior was born. A night we had been anticipating since the creation of the earth, for thousands of years. No wonder the heavenly hosts could not contain themselves from singing their praises. During the Christmas season, I bring out my Brian Kershisnik painting:
There are many things I love about this painting, one of which is the angels of all ages and sizes, crowding around to see the baby whose birth was hard-coming and long-awaited.
The speaker in church today is a famous artist who lives in our ward. He spoke about the color crimson--alizarin crimson. For an artist, it's a hard pigment because it's impossible to cover. Even if an artist applies a thick coat over it, in time, you will still see the crimson below. It's called "ghosting." The only way to erase the color is to subject it to continuous bright sunlight, which will fade it to gray and eventually to white. The speaker applied this to our sins, which are crimson, as Isaiah said, but, if we subject them continuously to the light that is the Savior, they can be white. Christ's gift to us, said the speaker, is forgiveness. Our gift to him is repentance, is our sins.
And that is why I think I was among those heavenly hosts, even if I wasn't in Bethlehem singing, I'm sure I was singing wherever I was, even if I was surrounded by small spirits who were throwing things and prattling on and complaining. I'm sure I was rejoicing, as I continue to do.