I love the preceding quote by Elder Maxwell. It reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas and helps me to stay focused on important things during the holiday season. Occasionally I need a reminder like that. There is so much vying for our attention this time of year -- gifts, decorations, events, and responsibilities -- all make the season merry and bright ... and hectic. ;o)
Many years ago I devised a plan to help me stay better focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Every year on December 1st I start reading the New Testament. By reading 7-8 pages a day I am able to finish the four gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke & John -- by December 24th. Doing this helps me to focus on the "reason for the season" in a much more meaningful way. Some years I've done better than other years, but over the years I've realize it's a goal and tradition worth keeping and pursuing each and every year.
This week I began my usual reading with Matthew Chapter 1 which starts with the Lord's genealogy. Until this year these verses have never particularly captured my attention. This past year I taught an adult Sunday school class on the stories in The Old Testament, so many of the names were much more familiar to me this year than in years past. There are five women mentioned in Jesus Christ's genealogy in Matthew. It's unusual that women would be mentioned at all -- Luke's genealogy of Christ only mentions men. Even more unusual are the lives of the women that were mentioned. Bathsheba. Tamar. Rahab. Ruth. Their lives were not typical or what one might expect to find in the genealogy of the Son of God. Not one of them had a perfect, traditional family situation. Each of them at one time was looked down upon, mistreated or made some mistakes. Perhaps these particular women were mentioned to remind us that even imperfect and mistreated people can be the ancestors of God. And if that is true, then maybe I can become a member of his family as well.
Take a minute to enjoy this lovely song, "Do You Have Room for the Savior" written by Shawna Belt Edwards. It's a favorite of mine. She kindly gave her permission for me to post this rendition of her song...
How do you make room for the Savior?