There have been a lot of festivities so far this year already, and I'm so glad I could be here for them. The last two Christmases have been really meaningful in their own ways, but I definitely missed spending time with the family and being a part of the events of which I saw many pictures and heard many stories. Tonight, contrary to usual traditions, Mom, Dad and I just stayed home and relaxed. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was on ABC, and it turned out to be the perfect movie for Christmas Eve (it even has Father Christmas!). I hadn't seen this film in years, and remembered now what a brilliant movie and near-perfect adaptation of the source novel it is. Then, later tonight I went browsing the blogs of friends and family to see if there were any festive Christmas posts, and what I found were both good and bad. I found some inspiring posts on Christ and His birth and what it means for all of us, and I found some that were really confusing, not even to do with Christmas, but current political trends, and certain personal feelings toward certain political figures, and certain bewildering, circle-running ideologies that skew toward the world and away from Christ. It kind of took the wind out of my proverbial Christmas Eve sails, but gave me a lot to think about, and heaven knows that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've been silenced before I guess, but not usually when I calmly and politely outlined my thoughts, even in dissent. Then there's always the controversy of those who are so against religion and God and Christianity in general that they try to take away even the mere mention of Christmas (our country is dying of PC!), or at least acidly protest it in loud and intolerant ways. Why is it hip and trendy to be any religion but Christian? It's really curious and bothersome to me. Anyway, I don't really know what the point of this post is, except to say that I really am grateful for what I have, grateful for my faith and freedom to express it, and especially grateful that Christ was born so that He could die for us and ultimately redeem us, if we do our part. Agency is such a gift, but it's so misunderstood and misinterpreted in these times and I worry about our misuse of it. I am luckily not to be the judge of the souls of humankind (who would actually want to take that responsibility on themselves?...), but I also know that we are commanded by Christ to judge righteously, and judge from behavior, right from wrong. Hurrah for the Light of Christ, and the Spirit's guiding promptings!
To end, I guess I'll just post my favorite Nativity painting by an LDS artist (Walter Rane). There are a lot of LDS painters, and the Nativity has been treated by them all, most likely, but I like Rane's textures and colors and drama, and how it looks like I'm actually seeing a scene that really took place, rather than a fuzzy, golden-glowy, modern-Mormons-as-models painting.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Let earth receive her king.