Day After Christmas 2013

I’m not the type of person to run out and go shopping the day after Christmas.  In fact, I’m at that point in my life where if I can avoid a store, I will.  (Unless it is B&H Photo.)

I spent most of the day working on the photos I took Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I got them posted and uploaded to the various web sites.

Meanwhile, Elizabethe went to visit Sister Broadbent with her quilling supplies to teach her the art of quilling.  She returned later with a loaf of homemade bread.  Elizabethe was all excited because it wasn’t “whole wheat” (like I make it.)

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Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus

 

Elizabethe has been setting up her new Christmas present.  I gave her a little tablet PC.  (Pretty slick.  It’s was about 1/3 the cost of an iPad and runs the full-blown Windows 8.  If you can run it on your desktop PC, you can run it on this thing.   You can’t say that about an iPad and an iMac.)    Anyway, it’s an Asus and came with the keyboard and Microsoft Office.

By the way, anyone interested in joining me in New York City on the first Monday of the year, we’re catching the GoBus in Rochester and arriving in NYC at 7am.  We’re then having breakfast and heading to B&H Photo.  After B&H, we’ll grab lunch and wander around taking photos.  We then catch the bus back to Rochester at 5pm.

Spending Christmas Eve with Missionaries

In December of 1976 and again in 1977, the saints of the Littleton, Colorado, Stake put on a Christmas celebration for the full-time missionaries serving in the Denver area.  I will be forever grateful to those saints who feed, entertained and kept us from getting homesick during those Christmas seasons.

Today, Elizabethe and I loaded the car and headed to Pittsford where we spent a good portion of the day with the full-time missionaries.  We started with a large group photo.  It took me about 2 hours to get the lights setup.  On of the senior elders assisted me with arranging the chairs and moving the ladder.  It was going to be a learning experience, but such is life.

After a delay due to weather affecting the arrival of some of the missionaries, we began the daunting task of arranging them for the photo shoot.

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The Plan
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The Chairs and Stage
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Looking Towards the Camera
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The Final Shot

The missionaries had a white-elephant gift exchange.  I was pretty amazed at some of the silly gifts.

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Elder Earns His Halo

Yup, even halos for elders.

They had a nice lunch and then the missionaries had games and a movie.  Elizabethe and I decided to head home and enjoy a quiet evening.

The night was spectacular. There was a fresh inch of snow on the ground, the air was crisp and clear, and you could see all the stars in the sky.  It was a storybook Christmas eve.

Christmas Eve 2012

I actually worked this morning. I am working on a request from Professional Photographer Magazine, and so I wanted to get it done before Christmas.

Aside from that, and a short errand, it was a quiet day in anticipation of tomorrow. In the morning, 6 full-time missionaries will descend on our home for breakfast. We’re excited about it.

It’s Christmas Eve

The other day in WalMart, the lady at the cash register said, “Happy Holidays”. 

I returned with a, “And you too.”

The lady who was bagging my purchase then looked at me with a pleasant smile and said, “Merry Christmas.”

Her smile and Christmas wish caused a warmth to come over me, and I returned to her and said with all sincerity, “And a Merry Christmas to you too.”

I was watching a special on the History Channel about the birth of Jesus Christ.  It was interesting that through the study of the planets and stars, they came up with a date of  April 17th, AD 6 (if memory serves me right) as to when Jesus Christ was really born.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have believed since April 6th, 1830, that the birth of Christ took place on April 6th.  It seems scientific and historical research is leaning more towards our belief as the years go by.

Jesus, the Greek form of the Latin name, Iesus.  Most likely, Jesus would have been called Yahshua in Hebrew (or more commonly Joshua in English.)  Christ wasn’t his family name, but a title meaning Messiah.  Hence, Jesus the Christ seems a little more fitting in our language.  

No matter the name – whether it be the Messiah, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Yahshua, I AM, Alpha and Omega, the Light of the World, Saviour, Redeemer – he is the promised Savior.  And, as I have stated in the past, I reverence this period when we traditionally celebrate his birth even though I belive we’re off by a few months. 

Although I find the end of his life more significant to us than his birth, his birth was a fulfilment of prophecy by many  prophets.  He had to be born of a virgin.  He had to be born in humble circumstances.  His birth, by no means insignificant, was announced by angels and “heavenly hosts” who sang to shepherds.  Nowhere in recorded history to we have widely accepted texts that talk about angles and heavenly hosts coming to announce the birth of anyone else.

Tonight, as you gather your family around, read the account in Luke, chapter 2.  Imagine what it must have been like to be a Jewish shepherd tending your flocks.  Imagine the fear as men dressed in illuminating white descended from heaven and told you to “fear not”, and that they brought “good tidings of great joy”.  Imagine what it would have been like to be told the long-awaited Messiah (Christ) is born – someone your people had waited for centuries to come.  Imagine running to the place the angels told you about, and finding a mother holding an infant boy and thinking to yourself, “This is Him.  This is the Promised Messiah”.  Imagine hearing, and seeing heavenly hosts who came with the angels to announce his birth.

He was born.  He did live.  He lived, and was crucified in a most cruel manner, but before he died, he suffered for the sins of the world.  Thinking they might put an end to the movement he created, they took him, scourged him, spat upon him, mocked him by renting his clothing and placing a crown of thorns upon his head, and then they took him to Golgotha where they nailed him to a cross and lifted it up for him to further suffer and die.

Removing his body from the cross as the Hebrew sabbath approached, they placed him in a borrowed tomb, placed guards in fear that his body would be stolen, and rolled a large stone in front of the door.

The sabbath came and went.  It was the day we know as Sunday, and Mary came to visit the tomb.  She found the stone had been rolled away from the door of the tomb.  She entered in and found the tomb empty and the clothes he had been buried in folded and laid where Jesus’ body laid only a couple of days before.

Fearing his body had been taken by the Romans, she left the tomb, saddened and weeping.  A man, she think he was the gardener, asked, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?”

As he called her by name, she recognized him as her resurrected Lord and said, “Rabboni” (master).

Others witnessed angels rolling the stone away men in “shining raiment”, angles.  Others witnessed the angels announcing the Savior’s resurrection from the dead.  Many hundreds, if not thousands witnessed him before his ascension in to heaven.

It is Jesus’ the Christ gift to all of us that we will be resurrected after we die.  It is his gift to all those who accept him and keep his Father’s commandments that will be able to return to live in his presence.  And, it is those gifts to us that make his birth, his life, his suffering, his death and resurrection so important to each of us.

 Over the years, my own personal hardships and trials have led me to know my Savior lives.  His life is not a fantasy to me, nor is it a passing belief.  It is much more.  I’ve come to know the importance of his birth, as well as his teachings, his suffering, his death and resurrection.

So, at this Christmas season, when we celebrate his birth, I wish you a very, Merry Christmas.  (And, comes April, don’t be surprised if I wish you a Merry Christmas again.)