I missed posting a Christmas story yesterday for my countdown to Christmas, so I’m sharing two today.
#1 story is about a young girl who discovers that giving is more important than getting. She spends all her money and surprises her dad with something he loves. His reaction is priceless! It’s called “My Family: Giving is Getting, ” by D. Louise Brown. If you like stories about good surprises, you will love it. Go here to read it.
#2 story involves a husband and wife, faith and prayer. The husband wife are Gary and Joy Lundberg authors and If you’ve ever faced a deadline of making food to contribute to a party, you will feel for the wife in this story. She burnt the clam chowder she was going to bring. What happens after that is a miracle! I used to listen to this couple on the radio years ago as a young mom of two little ones. I always looked forward to their show and bought their book for a family Christmas present one year because I loved listening to them so much. You can read what I call the Miracle of the Clam Chowder here.
Here’s a sweet song about Mary by Don Staheli and Jim Kasen. You can get the sheet music here. It’s called “Mary Sweet and Tender Maiden.” I don’t worship Mary, but I can’t help but feel tremendous gratitude to her for being the wondrous vessel that she was to bring forth our Savior Jesus Christ and then mother him to adulthood. It was the vision of Mary holding the Christ child that conveyed to Nephi in the Book of Mormon just what the love of God is. Mary = the love of God. God also symbolizes it with the tree of life in the Book of Mormon. You can read all about that in my book. Just click on the tab above, “The Book,” and then click on Chapter 2.
I love, love the book below. In it, a little boy touches the heart of a bitter man. The man is carving a Mary figure for a wooden Nativity set, and the little boy asks him to put a smile on her face because she was the mother of Jesus. After you read the book, be sure to watch the movie. This story is absolutely one of my favorites. Years ago, the movie inspired me to be a better mother.
If you want more links to Christmas sheet music published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please get me free ebook of Family Devotionals as a PDF. The December section has links to many stories, songs, and poems for Christmas. Get it here and enjoy!
Here’s the sweetest story ever about sacrifice on Christmas morning. In this story, a mom who is sensitive to her conscience prompts her son to so something super wonderful for his best friend. I just love it! Go here to read it. It just makes my heart rejoice that a little boy could be so kind.
It reminds me of the story that President Monson told from his childhood, which you can read in the picture book below.
I love this story, “The Christmas Grove” by Lucy Parr, that appeared in the Children’s Friend magazine, December 1972. Read it here. It starts out with the main character, a young girl, feeling sad, in her family’s new place, far way from her memories of Christmas pasts in snowy, piney Vermont. She longs to have snow instead of drizzly rain and a Christmas tree in her new home in Oregon. When she’s told she can’t have one, she gets even sadder. But something beautiful comes of all this. I just love stories like this about gathering. Truly, gathering with like-minded people brings joy. Gathering to create beauty and feed birds creates even more joy.
As one of the neighbors says in the story, “It’s folks getting together in friendship and caring about each other that helps make Christmas. Where you happen to live at the time doesn’t really matter.” So true!
If you love this story, you’ll love my collection of stories in my Celestial Family Devotionals Ebook, free in PDF form, over here.
Here is a picture book about decorating trees to feed the birds and celebrate Christmas at the same time. I love it! Decorating trees for the birds at Christmastime is one of those things that sounds romantic but I’m never going to get to in this life, LOL. Anyway, these stories are lovely so I’ll just vicariously decorate trees for the birds through them. That’s what’s so great about picture books! If you want more Christmas picture book recommendations then go over here.
I just love this story about a young missionary in Russia, one of the coldest places on earth. He found out how playing Silent Night on a violin to accompany some singing by other missionaries brought in the Holy Spirit to touch people’s hearts like nothing else he’d witnessed. This was a miracle as three of the missionaries were tone deaf and they only practiced for five minutes.
Go here to read it. If you like it, you will love my collection of heart-warming stories in my free PDF of Family Devotionals Ebook, over here.
If you’ve never watched BYUTV’s rendition of the history of Silent Night, you are missing out. Go here to watch it free on BYUTV, to learn the story of Joseph Mohr, the lyricist, and Franz Gruber the composer.
To round out your Silent Night experiences, here are some picture books of it to enjoy the story more.
I just love watching this show, Relative Race, every Sunday after our church meetings. In this show, four teams search for long-lost relatives by completing challenges and then following clues to get to the relative’s home without using GPS or any smart phone help. All they have to guide them is a paper map and whatever help they can get from the locals.
Often they are searching for a biological father or biological mother that has never been known. Each team is made of two people, usually a husband and wife, or siblings. Sometimes the team is made of friends. The winner of the race, which is 10 episodes long, gets the grand prize of $50K! Along the way, though, everyone is a winner because they get to know relatives they never knew! The show’s producer and host, Dan Debenham, is in the video below. He tells of how this show is not really his show, it’s God’s. You can read the text of the talk here.
I just love it when there’s that pregnant pause after the person finally gets through a challenge and races to the relative. They see the relative for the first time and then, there’s a pause, as the twosome waits in wonder to see who this relative is. I love to call it and say out loud to my kids who are watching with me, before someone reveals it on the show… “It’s his father!” or “It’s her mother (or sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin)!” More than half the time, I’m right. It’s so fun to see the shared genes and be able to call it.
Then there are the tears as the racer and his or her relative hug. What a sacred feeling! I can feel the Holy Spirit testify that this relationship between these two people is sacred because they are family. Even though they’ve been separated by time and miles. They are still family. It’s amazing. So if you ever want to feel the Holy Spirit, watch this show. The joy that emanates is contagious! It makes me want to strengthen my family relationships. You can watch the show here. So far the show has 8 seasons, with 10 episodes in each. So if you haven’t watched any of it, you have a lot of binge watching to look forward to!
Let’s talk about Thanksgiving picture books! I love all of these! The two ones above are about Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who got the federal government to create the US national holiday of Thanksgiving.
The one above, to the left, is a cute board book, very simple. Give Thanks to the Lord is a beautifully illustrated book to celebrate Psalms 92. Then It’s Thanksgiving! by Jack Prelutsky is packed full of delightful poems. So fun!
Thanksgiving in the Woods tells the true story of a family who hosts Thanksgiving in the woods every year near their home in upstate New York, with candles and bonfires and lots of people. Sounds so jolly!
I enjoy the work of Eric Metaxas. Squanto’s story fascinates me!
Both the books above and below involve the real pilgrims. The one above is about John Howland, a real person who was on the Mayflower. He’s actually my many-greats-great-grandfather! His story illustrates the hand of God in someone’s life. What would have happened if he hadn’t been saved after falling overboard the Mayflower? This book deserves to be read every year to be reminded of Providence in the Pilgrims’ lives and all of our lives. I love the lovely illustrations in both these books! The one below is my favorite picture book for telling the general story of the pilgrims.
The Thanksgiving Door is my absolute fave Thanksgiving picture book. I just love, love the story of serendipity that surprised an elderly couple because of a grandmother’s influence of her family to be hospitable.
An Outlaw Thanksgiving is a little known story loosely based on a story involving Butch Cassidy. I love this one, and A Turkey for Thanksgiving, because of their surprise endings!
The one above and below just ooze happy family togetherness at Thanksgiving! I reviewed a movie loosely based on the book below (pretty much the only thing in common is the title) over here. I hope you enjoy all these books! Happy Thanksgiving!
So I watched the video below featuring Lynne Hilton Wilson this past week. It pairs wonderfully well with the video that my friend Tamara Laing did a year ago in Zoom, entitled, “Women, Priesthood Power and Generational Clearing.” You can watch that over here, in three parts. These videos are incredible.
Here is the description Tamara gives for her presentation:
“What have the brethren taught about women and the priesthood? Learn gospel concepts tied to the meaning of the word priesthood. Learn what the scriptures teach about ‘iniquities of the fathers’ to the 3rd and 4th generation and ‘loosing the bands’ from our necks.”
It’s amazing to learn what that phrase means, “loosing the bands from our necks.” It relates to the 5 points that Tamara makes. I won’t list them here, I encourage you to go watch the video to learn these wonderful principles about women and the priesthood. One of the points, is that virtue = spirit of life, or the vital force/chi. Wow, so interesting! As we as women learn to attract more virtue, and become more and more a Proverbs 31 woman, whose price is above rubies, we will naturally increase in drawing upon priesthood power.
Watch Tamara’s video linked at the very top, then watch Lynne Hilton Wilson’s video (Tamara quotes Lynne from one of her papers as saying that “Joseph Smith linked gifts of the spirit with powers of the priesthood.”) Then read President Nelson’s talk about women and the priesthood from October 2019 General Conference, called “Spiritual Treasures.” Put all these presentations together in your brain and you will be blown away! Part of President Nelson’s invitation as women in regarding priesthood power is to draw more upon this power.
Could that involve removing curses/iniquities to the third and fourth generations of our families? I think so! That’s what Tamara states as her fifth point in her presentation. This allows us to create generational clearing. (This is so fascinating as other people talk about generations, especially fourth generations. It’s interesting that they stop with that ordinal number, like Strauss and Howe do in the book The Fourth Turning. They write about first, second, third, and fourth generations, just like in the scriptures.) This adds a deeper layer to what it means to be a virtuous woman. It’s so exciting! As Tamara shows in one of her slides at the end of the presentation, “Generational clearing = priesthood power.”
President Nelson says in the above linked talk, “As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available will increase. As you do so, you will find yourselves better able to help create eternal families that are united, sealed in the temple of the Lord, and full of love for our Heavenly Father and for Jesus Christ.”
Here are two awesome videos about Hebrew alphabet symbolism. The top one shows how the Hebrew Alphabet is hidden in 1 Nephi of the Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Natasha Pizorno is the presenter. Her book pictured below goes deeper into this topic.
The bottom one features Donna Nielsen, author of Beloved Bridegroom. She mentions a few of the Hebrew alphabet letters, namely alef, symbolized by the ox, and mem, symbolized by a zig zag wave of water. She also explains several verses in Isaiah. This is all so amazing! If you want to know more about diving deeper into the scriptures, I highly recommend learning about Scripture Notes here.