Christmas Series: We Are The Sound Of Water

Image by Jenna von Benedikt used with permission

::

Eddies of light twirl in silence when a star passes between us.

Mary does her work. Joseph keeps his word. Jesus comes against odds.

Daybreak moves through dust-laden air, but we’re not there to see the stable,

or feel the straw. We’ve made our way to a time and place where nothing

magic seems to happen anymore. Caught in the current, we are swaddled

in mystery. [But we were before the stars.] We are the sound of water

.

beneath grass on a hillside where shepherds watch their flocks.

We are eddies of redemption flowing around sand and rocks,

down the Kidron, to a basin where Jesus washes feet.

We are clouds and thunder, a prayer in the rent sky.

We are the noise in darkened heavens, each her own lullaby,

while the baby sheds His tears, cries midnight out of this world.

::

Art: Distillation of Matter by Jenna von Benedikt.

*Kidron valley, Kidron brook.

 

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Christmas Series: Young Women Lesson: How Can I Invite Others to Come Unto Christ?

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

There are no Easter or Christmas-themed YW lessons and I think it’s a shame there aren’t outlines for these Sundays, especially since holidays are times when people who would otherwise not come to church are there to worship. So in preparation for Christmas, I’ve taken one of the December lesson plans and Christmas-ified it so that you can have a Christmas-themed lesson the Sunday before Christmas.

Here is a link to the manual for How Can I Invite Others to Come Unto Christ?

The Christmas story could be considered as a series of invitations from God to humans to come to Christ. I think it would be a good idea to step through the Christmas story and talk about how God is inviting people to come to Christ. As you read or discuss each story, as the class a few questions:

  • Who is God using to testify of Christ? Who is being told of Christ?
  • How is the news of Christ received? What does the person/people do with the news?
  • What traits do each of these people personify? (maybe lists these on the board for the class to think about).
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Christmas Series: For those without a gift for giving gifts

big present IMG_3432I do not have a gift for gift-giving.  I am overwhelmed as the holiday season approaches and I ponder gifts for my kids, who are already bored of the gifts I gave them for their birthdays; my parents, who already own nicer things than I could afford to buy them; and my husband, who only ever wants specialized hobby equipment that I am not even knowledgeable enough to buy.  It seems that anything I can afford to buy en masse for my neighbors and coworkers is junk.

So I have scoured the Exponent archive for tips for remedial gift-givers like me. Exponent blogger Whoa-man, who is a natural at gift-giving, shares tips for choosing the perfect gift in The Art Of Gift Giving. I marvel at the thoughtfulness of the gift highlighted in Jessawhy’s Birthday Gift From My Pro-Feminist Husband. Here are some great thoughts about children’s gifts by Emily U: What Kinds Of Toys Did You Buy For Christmas. A guest poster resolves the neighbor gift dilemma with Simple Gift Suggestions For Friends Who Are Not LDS and these ideas for a Mothers Day Gift From Bishopric To Women would also work well as neighbors’ Christmas gifts. Emily CC reminds us that sometimes we don’t need to pull off the perfect gift, A Good Enough Christmas is good enough!

And this video is a great one to get in the giving mood:

My Song in the Night by BYU TV

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The Exponent Christmas Series: The Posts of Christmas Past…

We love Christmas here at the Exponent, which means we love Christmas posts!

noelBecause of this love, we are dedicating this week to a Christmas Series, complete with poetry, ward Christmas party hints, an excellent Christmas Nativity play, and even a Christmas book review, plus lots of love for the women who celebrated the First Christmas, Exponent Style. But it won’t end this week, we will sprinkle flakes of Christmas cheer throughout all of December, in celebration of Christmas.

“But wait!” You say, “This week is American Thanksgiving! We want Tofurky recognition!”

We know!  We do, too! We love American Thanksgiving …and Canadian Thanksgiving, and Australian Thanksgiving and any time a Thanksgiving Feast is offered.  (“Thanksgiving” was a term used in a celebratory feast when voyagers arrived at far off destinations, and was even a term used among Mormons at the completion of a new chapel’s construction.) So we are still having some delicious Thanksgiving posts as a part of the Christmas Series, to round out the season properly…. rather like a nutmeg-sprinkled happy sip of egg nog.

But before this series of fresh Christmas posts begin, we invite you to visit the ghosts of Christmas posts past. So, sit down, grab a cup of cocoa –or iced chocolate for those in the Southern Hemisphere– and put your feet up. Because we have some magical Posts of Christmas Past for you, such as:

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Relief Society Lesson 25: The Birth of Jesus Christ: “Good Tidings of Great Joy”

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français
Click for Spanish Translation/Traducción en español
Mary nativity

Mary nativity

 

To quote the Teachings of Joseph F. Smith manual:

“There is no story quite as beautiful, or which can stir the soul of the humble quite to the depths, as this glorious story can of the birth of our Redeemer. No words that man may utter can embellish or improve or add to the eloquence of its humble simplicity. It never grows old no matter how often told, and the telling of it is by far too infrequent in the homes of men.”

If I were teaching this lesson, I would do exactly – talk of the birth of Christ.  And not of the shepherds, or Joseph, or the wise men, but the person who was the intimately and physically involved in the birth of Christ: Mary.  In my experience at Christmas-time at church, we often want to gloss over the experiences of Mary as the mother and life-giver in favor of celebrating Christ and the meaning of his life and teachings.  I don’t think this is necessarily inappropriate, but since we (hopefully) devote the other 51 weeks of our Sunday worship to the teachings of Christ, I’d like to talk a little about the brave woman who gave Christ life.

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