Imagine a cultural hall well-decorated with fragrant trees, live poinsettias, and hundreds of nativities. Live Christmas music is presented hourly by local orchestras, school groups, and individual musicians. Nativities are diverse: some appeal to adults, others to children, and many come from countries around the world. In the adjoining chapel, a five-minute video portrays the first Christmas. In a nearby classroom, nativities that might have a particular appeal to children are displayed. In another classroom, a "dress up" room lets children and families wear nativity costumes and pose for a picture. This Nativity Exhibit/Christmas Music Festival has become our church's annual gift to our community.
|Kaia dressed up like an angel in the photo room.|
Our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has congregations throughout the world. This is the 13th year that our stake (made up of six local congregations) has prepared this exhibit for our community. We love it! I was lucky enough this year to be able to help prepare and participate in the organization of this amazing event. Literally hundreds of people donate thousands of hours to help make this happen. The nativities, poinsettias, and costumes are all donated for the 4-day event. The whole point is to prepare a Nativity Exhibit and Christmas Music Festival where visitors can feel the Spirit and remember the true meaning of Christmas. I love it because it helps set the tone for the whole Christmas season. I find myself thinking about it often--not just while it was up (during the first weekend of the month).
This is the first year that Kaia has really understood how Christmas celebrates Jesus' birthday. She was so excited to dress like an angel and "sing and tell everyone that Jesus is born!"
I know it is easy to get excited about presents...especially when you have kids. Kaia is SO MUCH FUN to shop for! But, this Nativity Exhibit made me think, "Yes--this is the whole point of Christmas. This baby is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who has made salvation possible. I so want my kids to feel the love their Savior has for them. I want them to grow up and know Him. I want them to be motivated by His example."
It is so natural for kids to be Christ-like, but it seems so easy to forget as we age. I think that's one of the reasons we celebrate Christmas--to help us remember.
I still believe Christmas is magical. Sure, part of that is the presents and Santa. A bigger part of that, I think, is that in celebrating Jesus' birthday we are inviting His spirit into our lives. And nothing feels more magical than that.