Christmas this year wasn't about us. It wasn't about the presents under the tree, or worrying about how we were going to get to all of the family gatherings on time. We just got to give of our time and received a different kind of gift, the true spirit of the holiday.
The Edinburgh Ward choir was asked to put together a Christmas eve program for the community. I have never performed on Christmas eve before, probably because I was too busy thinking about what I was getting for Christmas or trying to buy last minute gifts. But as we had the chance to sing the traditional carols of Christmas, the spirit of Christmas started to come alive. I didn't get emotional, but it made me grateful that I had a place to go on Christmas eve. It allowed me to give of myself in a way I never had before. Sure, I have performed in concerts midway through December, served less fortunate members of the community around the 20th, and caroled on the 23rd, but I've always held the 24th of December a little more selfishly in my heart. But being able to do something for those outside my immediate family really put me in the right mood for Christmas. The right mood turned out to be quite important because after the performance Kristen and I went home and started preparations for the next day.
You see, Kristen and I decided a little while back that we were going to have our missionaries, Elders Brophy and Baumann, over for Christmas brunch. Because our families couldn't fly over for the holidays and it is our first Christmas together we opted to celebrate it with more than just the two of us. Since the missionaries are away from family too, we thought getting together would be ideal. So we talked to our missionaries back in November and reserved the date. Then a few weeks ago Elder Brophy showed up to a dinner appointment with another elder on exchanges. We proceeded to invite him and his companion over as well, as they work with the Chinese people who don't really celebrate Christmas. Transfer calls came two weeks ago and a sister missionary companionship was doubled into our ward. Elder Brophy said the sisters had nowhere to go for Christmas and asked if they could come too. Then last Tuesday Elder Brophy asked if the Zone Leaders, Elders Kelly and Bohling, could join us. We thought, "why not, the more the merrier." At that point we decided that we might as well invite the Assistants, Elders Bonin and Peterson, to join us so none of the missionaries would feel left out. Here are a few photos from the day:
We ended up playing games, eating and talking. Really just having a good time together. But serving on Christmas day made all the difference this year. After Christmas was over, I could still carry on the Christmas spirit because I gave what I could to those who really needed it. Not sure that next Christmas will be quite as memorable. How many wards have 10 missionaries within the boundaries?