’Twas the night after Christmas when all through the house
Everyone was posting, and clicking their mouse
The Instagram filters were chosen with care,
In hopes that each image would soon get a share.
The children were all on the couch iPads and tablets in their hands
While images of zombies and angry birds ate up the WiFi bands.
And mamma with her Mini and I with my Android
Updated our status and sent messages into the void.
I could go on, but I’m sure you can guess the rest of the poem. In many ways Christmas has become a time of getting lost in our gadgets, instead of spending time with family, friends and service. What did you get for Christmas is the question the children ask their friends as we spend time updating our status on Facebook and sharing images on Pintrest and Instagram. How much time was spent talking about the person whose birth we celebrate during this Christmas season? Thomas S. Monson, once said:
“The gifts so acquired are fleeting. Dolls break, dresses wear out, and fun games become boring. Pocketknives are lost, trains do nothing but go in circles, and trucks are abandoned when the batteries that power them dim and die.
“If we change but one word in our Christmas question, the outcome is vastly different. “What did you give for Christmas?” prompts stimulating thought and causes tender feelings to well up and memory’s fires to glow ever brighter.
“Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things.” (“Christmas Gifts, Christmas Blessings”, Ensign, December 1995).
Celtic Carol - Lindsey Stirling
As the Christmas season ends and we look to the New Year, many of us will make resolutions of the things we hope to be able to accomplish during the New Year. Along with the diets, exercise, projects that we want to do I challenge each of us to include service as one of our resolutions. What can we do to help our neighbors, someone that is suffering, lost his or her job or a loved one, or the young mother that is overwhelmed?
President Monson in that same article tells of a family that lived in Star Valley, Wyoming long ago where the father was away from home working trying to support his family. One evening one of the boys overheard his mother praying:
‘Heavenly Father, there is no food in our house. Please, Father, touch the heart of somebody so that my children will not be hungry in the morning.’
“When she finished her prayer, she looked around and saw her son had heard; and she said to me, somewhat embarrassed, ‘Now, you run along, son. Everything will be all right.’ (“Christmas Gifts, Christmas Blessings”).
The story continues:
“(the boy) went to bed, assured by Mother’s faith. The next morning, (the boy) was awakened by the sounds of pots and pans in the kitchen and the aroma of cooking food. I went down to the kitchen, and he said, ‘Mother, I thought you said there was no food.’
“All she said to me was, ‘Well, my boy, didn’t you think the Lord would answer my prayer?’ I received no further explanation than that.”
Years later after the boy grew up, went to college and had a family he came home and Bishop Gardner told him the rest of the story. He said:
“I had finished my chores, and we had had supper. I was sitting by the fireplace reading the newspaper. Suddenly, I heard a voice that said, “Sister Ballantyne doesn’t have any food in her house.” I thought it was my wife speaking and said, “What did you say, Mother?” She came in wiping her hands on her apron and said, “Did you call me, Father?”
“‘“No, I didn’t say anything to you, but I heard a voice which spoke to me.”
“‘“What did it say?” she asked.
“‘“It said that Sister Ballantyne didn’t have any food in her house.”
“‘“Well, then,” said Mother, “you had better put on your shoes and your coat and take some food to Sister Ballantyne.” In the dark of that winter’s night, I harnessed the team and placed in the wagon bed a sack of flour, a quarter section of beef, some bottled fruit, and loaves of newly baked bread. The weather was cold, but a warm glow filled my soul as your mother welcomed me and I presented her with the food. God had heard a mother’s prayer.’”
The scriptures tell the story of the wise men that came to see the Christ child and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew tells the story:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa 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 the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet,
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
¶And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-11)
I hope that as the memories of this Christmas season fades that we will remember how the wise men followed the star that led them to the Christ Child and when they had found him, they presented him with their gifts. What gifts will we present to him? I do not discount the gifts that the wise men gave, but I don’t believe that Christ would have us give him material things, instead I think he would like us to give gifts of love to others, charitable service to those in need and gifts of comfort to those that need our help.
As we give of ourselves in this way we well receive the greatest gift of all from him when he says to us at the last day:
Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord…Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (Matthew 25: 21, 45)
I invite you to watch this 3 minute video titled “Wise Men Still Seek Him”. Are we wise enough to continue to seek him?
Wise Men Still Seek Him - Modern-day Story of the Wise Men
Your comments and questions are welcome. I would appreciate it if you would share this with your social media friends.