Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Story

I really enjoyed reading this Christmas talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I definitely recommend you click the link down below to read the whole thing.

Here's the beginning:

You will recall from Dr. Suess’s holiday “horror” story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that the devilish Grinch determined to rob Who-ville of every holiday treat. In a nefarious scheme in which the Grinch dressed as Santa himself, he moved through Who-ville taking every package, tree, ornament, and stocking.

We now come upon him as he leaves the city, chuckling to himself in delight over the pain he will have caused children like little Cindy-Lou Who.

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!

“That’s a noise, “grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply MUST hear!”
So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow …

But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming!
IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”
(Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, New York: Random House, 1957.)


Part of the purpose for telling the story of Christmas is to remind us that Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Indeed, however delightful we feel about it, even as children, each year it “means a little bit more.” And no matter how many times we read the biblical account of that evening in Bethlehem, we always come away with a thought—or two—we haven’t had before.

There are so many lessons to be learned from the sacred account of Christ’s birth that we always hesitate to emphasize one at the expense of all the others. Forgive me while I do just that in the time we have together here.

One impression which has persisted with me recently is that this is a story—in profound paradox with our own times—that this is a story of intense poverty. I wonder if Luke did not have some special meaning when he wrote not “there was no room in the inn” but specifically that “there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7; italics added.) We cannot be certain, but it is my guess that money could talk in those days as well as in our own. I think if Joseph and Mary had been people of influence or means, they would have found lodging even at that busy time of year.

I have wondered if the Inspired Version also was suggesting they did not know the “right people” in saying, “There was none to give room for them in the inns.” (JST, Luke 2:7.)

We cannot be certain what the historian intended, but we do know these two were desperately poor. At the purification offering which the parents made after the child’s birth, a turtledove was substituted for the required lamb, a substitution the Lord had allowed in the Law of Moses to ease the burden of the truly impoverished. (See Lev. 12:8.)

Click here to finish the story.

(Now I'm writing.) If you clicked to read the whole story, then here are my thoughts on it. His description of the birth of our Savior (combined with my experience of giving birth) really put the Christmas story in a new perspective for me. I have seen many nativity sets, and for the most part, they are gorgeous. They have an animal or two thrown in there (sometimes), but nothing to depict how dirty a stable/manger/barn/cave really would be.

I hope this story helps you take a moment to remember the Savior and his birth and Heavenly Father's ultimate Christmas gift to us all.

4 comments:

  1. Oh wow, those are some good points, Mimi. Thanks for sharing.
    ~ac

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  2. What a beautiful talk! Jeffrey R. Holland always delivers it just right. AND I love how he talks about how wonderful it is to give gifts as well, so those of us who also enjoy that part of Christmas don't feel guilty...


    When did he give this talk, was it this year's Devotional? (we forgot about it this year... I was so sad.)

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  3. I have never heard this before. Thanks for sharing Mimi :)

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  4. Ames, it was before our time actually. He gave the talk in 1976, and it was printed in the Ensign in 1977. :)

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