Two years ago, we spent one of my favorite Christmases ever in Italy. We were living in a little town nestled against a mountainside between the Ligurian and Maritime Alps. Every Sunday we drove a half hour through the Piedmont countryside to meet with our little LDS branch. I loved our branch to death, but it was in that awkward in-between stage where there are enough members to necessitate a full complement of auxiliaries, but not nearly enough to comfortably staff said auxiliaries. We generally kept things more-or-less together, but we didn’t have a lot of extra time or resources after barely managing to accomplish the essentials. Since I was the branch music chairperson, I had realized a few months before that I should probably plan a special musical number or two for the Sacrament meeting the week before Christmas. My husband was in the branch presidency, so I asked him what Presidente had in mind. He laughed and responded…
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For me, Christmastime starts around the end of September, with the first hints of autumn coolness. It extends through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, and ends sometime around mid-February. My calendar looks something like this: Christmastime (September through February) The Wet & Cold Season (March through May) The Hot & Dry Season (June through August) Being yet the beginning of October, we’re still right around my new year. When the relentless Sacramento summer heat starts to withdraw and I need to roll my windows up for my morning commutes, I feel the stirrings of new life in me. I get nostalgic for the past, and excited for the possibilities in the future. I think of the holidays during this season as extensions of Christmas. Even the Christmas holiday itself is an extension of the Christmastime season. Thanksgiving and Halloween and New Year’s. And sometimes Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter, depending on how long my Christmastime season lasts. Each…
In April of 2008, our son Samuel was diagnosed with autism . . . But in this Christmas week, I wanted to share some specific experiences that we have had with our special needs child, first the challenges that the holiday posed and then the wonderful blessings that we have experienced together as a family. . . . As we celebrate the birth of our Lord together, the spirit is not only filling my home, it is reaching my precious son in ways that I pray will make an indelible mark on his memory and soul.
[Choir policy keeps members from posting or blogging about the Choir before and even during events. Here I am sharing only some very general information about the concert after it is over. Although I will respond to comments, I do not intend to speculate on policies, how guests are chosen, etc.] Perhaps the most important thing that the Tabernacle Choir does is provide music for several of the session of General Conference. After that, our biannual tours rank high as perhaps our most overt and perhaps important missionary outreach. While the weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word fill a similar purpose, probably the most exciting event to participate in is our annual Christmas concert. Since the dedication of the Conference Center almost ten years ago, the concert has reached a stunningly large audience: 21,000 for a ticketed “dress rehearsal” Thursday evening, 42,000 for the official concerts Friday and Saturday night, and then nearly another 21,000 for the Sunday…
Merry Christmas from Christmases past!
On the sweetness of Mormon life. Some child behind me started yelling during a really good talk about charity. Because of the talk, perhaps, I remembered not to turn around and gawk. Later I peeked behind me and saw a young mother with three small children who had slipped in late. Her husband is a good man but he doesn’t believe and won’t come and he works on Sundays anyway, so she and her children are usually late. Sometimes they’re so late they don’t come until the very end of sacrament meeting. But they almost always come.
My ward is doing a musical Sacrament meeting this year. What is your ward doing?
My first two posts were mostly devoted to large-scale pieces; this one is for miniatures, carol collections, and other minor or miscellaneous loveliness.
Holidays make me think of traditions, especially the food and family traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas. But that makes me think about other traditions, such as the scriptural “wicked traditions of our fathers,” which then makes me think of the wickedly awesome traditions of my fathers and mothers. (And clearly that is the problem with me thinking.)
President Uchtdorf conducting. President Henry B. Eyring: Sustaining votes of the General Authorities and Church Officers
This is a talk I delivered in Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday, on the topic “Using General Conference addresses in our personal study.” At the center of Mormon self-understanding is the idea that God reveals himself in the present day, to prophets and to individuals.What, then, is the character of that continued revelation? We’ve been studying the D&C in Sunday school this year, so we have examples close at hand. I want to look at two passages, chosen for their differences. Listen for the contrast in tone; how would you describe the flavor? Here’s the first, from section 1: Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men … For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape…. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and…
This is the time of year for Christmas devotions. This year my thoughts have been on the impulse to serve the needy that we have at Christmas. We don’t have it at Easter. My thoughts have also been on the Christ child. The religious significance of the grown Christ, on the cross and in the garden, is obvious. But what did Christ do for us as a bare baby?
In the bustle of day-to-day life, it is useful to employ holidays to refocus our attention and our thoughts and, most of all, celebrate together and with friends of other faiths the events we all value. For some years now, my family and I have benefited spiritually by using the gospel accounts of the Savior’s last week as the focus of our family and personal scripture study. It is a great way to truly celebrate Easter!
Every year on T&S there appears around Easter time a certain amount of Holy-Week envy. I haven’t seen any yet this year, and so I thought I’d take my turn to express a little. Or better, maybe this would be a good opportunity to get a sense of what is going on in Mormon Easter services nowadays. What happened in your ward this year?
It’s holiday season, which means more friends and family and greetings, in person or otherwise, than usual. Add to that a few weddings receptions and you can get downright sore from all the hugging and hand-wrenching. Not to mention confused by the vast array of possibilities for saying hello or goodbye or Merry Christmas or Happy New Year to someone. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned anthropologist dizzy.
Let us praise pioneers. Of all sorts, but today especially the traditional sort. I myself am thinking of Carl and Mathilda, whom I came to know through one of those wholly unexpected spine-tingling unbelievable fantastic experiences.
I don’t wish to detract from Adam’s lovely post, but after reading the comments, I am surprised at how common the late September Primary Program is.
I don’t know of any Americans planning to move into my ward soon. If there were any, I wish they would understand a few things from the outset. (If you’re contemplating a foreign assignment in an industrial nation, some of this might apply to your situation as well.)
Today we had stake conference. It was our turn for one of those newfangled and (I hope) still evolving “multistake conference broadcast” experiences; at least some of you living in the Midwest and Great Plains must have caught it also. I think this is the fourth time we’ve been part of one of these over the past five years or so in four different states. Of course, the language of our having “had” stake conference, or being “part” of it, is rather misleading; what I really mean is, we joined twenty or so others in a cacophonous side room, sat on folding chairs, alternately hushed our kids in vain or supplied them with snacks and crayons and paper, and strained to hear and see what was being relayed to us from Salt Lake City on an 18-inch TV screen. As far as meetings go, it’s not my favorite format. Still, I managed to take a few notes. Here they are,…
So asked my oldest daughter, Megan (now 10) yesterday morning, as Melissa and I were discussing our Christmas Eve plans.
I gave a talk yesterday; the text is pasted herein. It’s long, but easy reading, I promise.
Christmastime is upon us, and before too long hoards of folks who darken a church door only once or twice a year will be flooding into the churches. I have to say I can hardly blame them.
This is the text of a talk I gave in Sacrament Meeting around this time last year. Warning: it’s LONG, and it quite predictably incorporates the John Donne quote I force upon everyone every Thanksgiving.
Over the past few days, I have been engaged in some much-needed family immersion. Among other things, I rediscovered the joys of eating jello pudding with children, playing an impromptu “turkey bowl” football game (with players ranging in age from eight to forty-something), and whipping some teenagers at the board game Risk.