Times change, years speed by; but Christmas continues sacred. It is through giving, rather than getting, that the spirit of Christ enters our lives. God still speaks. He prompts. He guides. He blesses. He gives.Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. Christmas gifts become Christmas blessings.
-Thomas S. Monson
Way back when Scott's Mom was little, her Mom, Grandma Mag, started having Christmas Eve programs. I had only been married to Scott a few months when I attended my first Magnusson family Christmas Eve.
I was mesmerized by the whole thing.
Dinner was served in Grandmas tiny blue living room. There was hardly room to move with all the tables, chairs and people squished in there. But no one cared, and I certainly didn't, it just felt so good to be a part of something so purely good.
After dinner everyone transferred to Grandmas even tinnier, blue front room. The little ones dressed in the old nativity costumes and the rest of us read or sang whatever parts Grandma had given us. After the program Grandma got out her bells. We all followed along on the bell music waiting for our chance to ding our bell for the right note. Then everyone gathered around Aunt Maureen at the piano for the yearly battle of... Maureen verses the rest of us on the speed version of The 12 Days of Christmas. Maureen won, she still does.
After the program everyone received a hand drawn matching t-shirt and new pajama pants. That first year for me the shirt said..."Cant wait for Christmas 98!". Scott told me that when he was half a world away on his mission he would get his Christmas Eve shirt in the mail. He said that he could put it on Christmas Eve night and feel close to his family through that one silly t-shirt.
The magic of family traditions is a powerful thing.
That first Christmas Eve in Grandmas tiny blue front room was magical to me. 13 Christmas Eve's later and it is still my favorite part of Christmas. A few years ago the whole thing became a little too much for Grandma and her little blue house. The family was growing and Grandma spent most of her time and energy lovingly caring for Grandpa. So...the program moved to Scotts parents home and I was given the chance to head up the program. It has been a huge blessing to me.
Things are mostly the same. New place, new babies and Grandpa is gone now. But Grandma Magnusson remains the magnet that pulls us all together to remember that tiny divine infant from Bethlhem and to sing the songs that honor His birth and life. I don't know how she did it, but she has created a Christmas Eve experience that has changed my life. I wouldn't miss it for anything. Grandma's testimony, her love for her family and her devotion to her Savior has burned warm enough and long enough to billow through our lives and into the Christmas season to create something beautiful and magical. My children know the Christmas story by heart because of what Grandma Mag started. It is woven into the season, into their minds, into their souls and into the synthetic costumes they wear each year. Grandma is a true angel. How I love her.....
And speaking of angels...I had three this year. Plus one very handsome Joseph.
Kaden decided at the last minute that he has grown out of the nativity, which, if I am being perfectly honest...broke my heart. My goodness that came too fast for me.
Thank-you Grandma, for the Christmas Eve traditions that you started long before I was even born but that have blessed my life over and over again each year. It is an absolute Christmas blessing to be part of it. I love you.