Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come From A Store"

I was reading a talk (with the same title as above) by Jeffrey R. Holland, and he pointed out something that I had never thought of before:

Joseph and Mary were poor.

I mean, it makes sense-- the woman gave birth in a stable, but I never really thought about it.
Elder Holland elaborates: 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.
The wise men came later, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. By the time they arrived, the Baby Jesus is described as "a young child" and Joseph and Mary were living in a house (see Matthew 2:11).

The gifts we give today to our loved ones are symbols of the gifts given to the Christ-child by the wise men. Elder Holland suggests that perhaps we use the wise men as examples to separate the gift-giving from the true reason for the season-- celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Elder Holland adds:

As happens so often if we are not careful, the symbols can cover that which is symbolized...

I do not feel—or mean this to sound—like a modern-day Scrooge. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh were humbly given and appreciatively received, and so they should be, every year and always. As my wife and children can testify, no one gets more giddy about the giving and receiving of presents than I do.

But for that very reason, I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why “tis the season to be jolly” and why the giving of gifts is so appropriate.

May we each remember the humble scene of the nativity on the night of Christ's birth. Plain and simple, yet full of love. I pray that each of our Christmas celebrations may be the same.


  1. I never have read those quotes before, thanks for sharing them! We all need a little reminder of the real reason for the season, don't we?

  2. Thanks for the reminder; one the of crafts blogs I follow had a Christmas tradition they do relating to the three wisemen's gifts, we're probably going to do it next year, check it out:


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  4. My visiting teacher told me that she and her hubby are only exchanging three gifts for Christmas. 1) Frankincense which was the oil put on the body. They will give each other something for the body ie clothes, perfume, etc.
    2)myrrh which is a spiritual gift so they will give something to help the other spiritually,
    3)gold. for this they are going to get the other something they really want.

    I thought that was such a beautiful idea. It helps keep things simple and focused. I love what you posted, Ashley, ad the reminder it gives to all of us. Thank you.



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