Celebrating 12 months of Christmas
Published: Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 8:38 p.m. MST
By Jerry Earl Johnston, Deseret News
I have an idea for a Christmas program.
You can borrow it. But don't steal it.
This is how it plays out.
You've heard of "The 12 Days of Christmas"? My program would be "The 12 Months of Christmas."
I believe every holiday has a nugget of Christmas spirit inside just waiting to be discovered.
We begin with a family decorating a Christmas tree. Everyone's feeling festive. Then a little girl says she wishes Christmas could last all year long. There's a moment of melancholy. The wise old Grandma takes the girl aside and tells her Christmas can last all year. She explains.
"Like Christmas," Grandma says, "New Year's Day is about second chances. We make plans and resolutions, but almost never get them done. But next year we have a chance to try again. That's the promise of Christmas. We're given the chance to repent and try again." (Hymn: "Jesus Once of Humble Birth").
"Valentine's Day," Grandma says, "is an easy one. We've made it about romantic love, but St. Valentine wanted it to be about all kinds of love, especially the love that Jesus feels for us and we feel for him." (Hymn: "Love One Another").
Mother's Day could be for Mary.
Father's Day would be for the Father of us all.
"And Easter," grandma says, "is just the reflection of Christmas in the mirror. Turn Christmas over, like a penny, and Easter is on the other side. You can't have one without the other." (Hymn: "Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today.")
"But what about Pioneer Day?" the little girl said. "How can those hot, dusty plains be about Christmas?"
"The Pioneers and the Wisemen were alike," Grandma explains. "They weren't explorers. They were pilgrims, they were after the same things. They were searching for God's joy and peace. And all of them eventually found it." (Hymn: Come, Come Ye Saints).
"And the Fourth of July?" the girl asks.
"Ah, the Fourth of July is about freedom," Grandma says. "And that's what Christmas is about, too. It's about freedom from darkness and fear. It's about freedom to be who we really are." (Hymn: "America.")
And as for, Thanksgiving, grandma says, "Jesus may be the reason for the season, but gratitude is the attitude. In Spanish, 'gracias' — gratefulness — and 'gracia' — God's grace — are the same word. They should be the same for us, too." (Hymn: "Now Thank We All Our God.")
"Let's see" says grandma, "What have we left out?"
They both think for a minute. Then the girl shouts, "We left out Christmas!"
And everyone laughs and sings a rousing carol.
Everyone is happy and festive again.
And, no, nobody says "God bless us every one."