Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas activities

1. The Ward Party. Friday night was a beautiful and well-attended dinner. The three younger kids mostly ate the candy scattered about the table.

At least their breath was minty-fresh.

The Primary kids did a live nativity: Tyce was a wise man. Harrison was Bryce's sidekick for narration from Luke 2, Cameron was too shy to get on the stage, and Mary pouted back at the table (reason unknown).

The Young Women and some leaders did their dance and I thought it was great! A little chaotic but a lot of fun. We showed the video of their performance in opening exercises Sunday and the girls were like, so embarrassed. j/k

At the end of the party, Santa came to town. A festive time was had by all.

2. Stake Youth Christmas Cantata. Sunday night was a musical presentation called "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth" written by Sally DeFord and directed by the extremely talented Darrell Crowther. I was so happy to have a good turn out, and even happier that we had two sets of visitors: Judge Dawson and his wife, and Donna Silva with her husband and daughter. It was nice to look out and see so many friendly faces. Tyce was a gracious host and welcomed our guests before the performance.

The music was powerful. I really felt the Spirit as I sang of Jesus Christ. Tyce said that he felt the same way. Dallin H. Oaks said that sometimes we gain a testimony by the bearing of it. I think that for many young people that night, that was true.

3. Family Home Evening. Bryce plans the best FHEs, by the way. Bryce had the kids put on their pajamas, get a blanket, and come to the living room. He turned off the lights except for the fireplace and the Christmas tree. After an opening song and prayer, we watched the video "The Nativity." When I hear that angelic voice sing, "Let earth receive her king" while the Virgin Mary holds the baby, it really chokes me up.

After the video we discussed the teachings in Matthew 25, culminating in this verse:

Inasmuch as ye have a done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Bryce brought up the fact that in these tough economic times, some families are struggling to keep their jobs, homes, and food on the table. Mary mentioned that someone at her school lived out of a car. We talked about what it might be like to be cold, hungry, and worried all the time.

And then came the challenge. Bryce asked the kids if they would be willing to forfeit one of their three Christmas gifts, and donate the money we would have spent to help someone else.

The room was quiet.

It was an obviously tough choice. What if they didn't get the thing they really wanted? Could they really part with the joy of "getting"? Would they be able to sacrifice something they wanted to help someone else? I know these thoughts ran through my mind.

Finally Tyce asked, "Can I give my allowance instead of a gift?"

"How much allowance?" Bryce asked.

I think Tyce sat up a little straighter when he said, "A whole year."

Bryce wrote down a figure. "You know that means this much, right?"

Tyce looked at the paper. "Yes. I know. And I want it all to go to Fast Offering."

That money was a million dollars in his eyes, and he gave it away.

(Do you know how proud I was of him at that moment?)

Mary also agreed to give up her allowance, for three months.

I really felt a special spirit in the room that night. Even the little ones wanted to give their "money" away, so Bryce wrote a figure on a piece of paper for them too.

Our closing song summed up the evening:

Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live
I shall divide my gifts from thee
with every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

(From Hymns page 219, Text by Grace Noll Crowell, Music
by Phillip Landgrave)

We had a sweet end to the night.


d/b/c/m said...

that's so sweet. how is it that kids' priorities are so charitable?

you've got great little ones. we'll miss seeing you all this holiday.

The Hardy's said...

It looks like a lot of fun. You are beautiful, Rebecca! You are very photogenic.

jessenpetty said...

WHAT!!?? Tyce really said that? Man! I'm kind of thinking that him and Auri would make an AWESOME couple in the future! (After his mission, of coarse! Wink, wink!) What do you think Tyce? In all seriousness, that was a great family home evening idea and I will probably borrow it for this Monday night! Any objections? I agree with Kim...you are a beautiful person and take really good pictures! MISS YOU TONS!