Well, it's finally finished - the Christmas program for my ward is written, approved, and with one more practice, will be perfect. I thought I would post it here if you are interested in a brief escape from the constant "buy, buy, buy" that gets thrown down our throats at this time of year. I also decided it would be appropriate to make the background tie in with the theme of the program, for a little ambience, but I find these a little hard to read after a while, so I don't think it will stay this way for long.
Enjoy and take some time to redirect yourself to the Light...
(some of the links have mp3's so you can listen and other just let you know where I found it if you find yourself needing to throw together a musical number anytime in the future)
On a quiet night, many years ago, the everlasting Light was sent down from heaven to illuminate the dark world. Heaven looked on in wonder and silent jubilation for a time before angels started sharing the most joyous news the world had ever known, for in a humble stable within a crowded town, the Savior of the world was born, and given a lowly manger for a bed. Very few were present to witness this arrival, but many since have wondered about the joy and peace they must have felt. As we are busy in preparations to celebrate that joyous event, let us pause often to remember, as the song states, “Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”
O Little Town of Bethlehem
The Christmas season provides us with many things, the opportunity to gather as families that may otherwise be apart, the chance to give gifts to show our love for those dear to us, and the occasion to once again ponder and celebrate the time when the earth received her greatest gift, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Very few events during the Earth’s history have warranted the arrival of a multitude of heavenly hoses, singing praises. The one we are most familiar with is the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Shepherds watching their flocks nearby were greeted initially, by a singular angel, who comforted them saying, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings or great joy, which shall be unto all people.”
The shepherds were giving instruction to find the Savior of the world, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” A multitude of angels then filled the sky, singing praises for the arrival of God’s beloved son, for the event that had been anticipated and told of by numerous prophets of old had occurred.
Born is the Light of the World
Over 2,000 years ago, wise men in the east saw a new star appear in the heavens. They, being learned, knew that this symbol was present because the light of the world had been born, bringing hope to a world of darkness. Seeing the appearance of the foretold light was such an exciting event that they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. They made the journey to Jerusalem, always keeping an eyes on the light to show them the direction they should go. They arrived to see the holy child, adorned with love resting in a humble bed. Following the light gave them the opportunity to be led to Christ and be witnesses for the child, and opportunity allowed to very few people.
The key for them was they were looking for the light, looking to be led.
Star Bright (Women’s Group)
We are only doing just a little of this in Spanish, but this is the only recording I can find of this beautiful song.
When Christ arrived on the earth, he came as the greatest gift our Heavenly Father could ever bestow upon mankind. His arrival wasn’t the only gift, he also brought to the earth the Light of Christ. “I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” the Savior said. “The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things. This light is further described in Moroni, Chapter Seven as that which “inviteth and enticeth to do good continually” is “given to every man, that he may know good from evil.” By using the Light of Christ to discern and choose what is right, we can be led to an even greater light: the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This light is the light of Christ. Our heavenly father gave us this light, with direction that it is our responsibility to maintain it and keep it going, to make sure that the Light of Christ is shining in our eyes.
President Faust explained, “What are we doing to keep the light shining in our own eyes and countenances? Much of that light comes from our discipline, dedication, and consecration to some important absolutes. The foremost of these absolutes is that there is a God who is the Father of our souls to whom we account for our actions. Second, that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. Third, that the great plan of happiness requires obedience to God’s commandments. Fourth, that the greatest gift of God is eternal life.
At times, it seems difficult to keep the light of Christ in our eyes, with the chaos that is swirling about us at all times. If we will but keep our attention focused on him, the same light that guided the wise men to Christ so many years ago will still be a guide for us.
The Star of Bethlehem
Much of our time during this season is spent wondering what we can give to each loved one in our lives, which will be a proper demonstration of the love we have for them. We examine budgets and think of interests and relevance of friendship to warrant the cost. The better gift would be to consider Emerson’s statement, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.”
President Monson explained several years ago, “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord our God with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much, he who gives time gives more, but he who gives of himself gives all.” Just as we have been given the Light and the Spirit of Christ, we have the responsibility to share it with all around us, inviting them and teaching them how to let the light guide their lives, especially in tumultuous times.
A poet wrote:
I met a stranger in the night, whose lamp had ceased to shine;
I paused and let him light his lamp from mine.
A tempest sprang up later on, and shook the world about,
And when the wind was gone, my lamp was out.
But back came to me the stranger—his lamp was glowing fine;
He held the precious flame and lighted mine.
Perhaps the moral of this poem is simply that if you want to give a light to others, you have to glow yourself. President Monson explained, "Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue." If we have even a small portion of the beacon of light from the Lord, we too, may have the opportunity to help or save one who may be wandering and lost.
Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy (Men’s Group)
When the Prophet Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees made sacred by what occurred there, he described the event:
“It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.” After enduring a harrowing experience from an unseen power, Joseph continued:
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. …
“When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
There have been many times when the darkness in our lives seems overpowering, unable to be conquered. Just as the light provided joy to the shepherds and wise men and offered comfort and enlightenment to Joseph Smith, we too can receive all the blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us, if we will just have the trust to make the Lord our Light, our guide and follow his every teaching. Christ told us in Doctrine and Covenants 93:2 that he is “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” That light that many search for in times of trouble is readily available, if we will just follow the wise men’s example and look for it, follow it, and trust that it will lead us to the source of peace and calm in a chaotic world, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Lord is our light and He will guide us.
The Lord is My Light
Closing Hymn Silent Night
(we are using a violin instead of a flute, and the congregation is just joining in the last verse)