Many of the Christmas traditions we enjoy in America come from Germany. This is partly due to the fact the Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria was German, and he brought with him his traditions. Albert and Victoria were trend setters. The German influence is also from the large numbers of German immigrants to the United States in the mid to late 1800s. My brother served his mission in Wisconsin, and said that you were as likely to hear German spoken as you were to hear English in some areas he was in. We grew up with German traditions in our home as our cute little (4 feet 9 inches) Grandma Gold was from Thuringa — the most German part of Germany. Dad also served his mission in Germany and loved to share fun traditions with us. We had a big red advent caledar on the wall with little charms to pin on a felt Christmas tree, yes we had the little chocolate door Advent calendars too (yum!). On December 5th we’d leave one shoe out for Sankt Nikolas to come and treat us, or leave a lump of coal the next day on Sankt Nikolas Tag. There was also fun treats like stollen and Lebkucken to eat. The greatest of German contributions to Christmas is the tradition of the Christmas tree. Dad used to tell us how when he was on his mission the Germans still were using real candles on their trees and how they’d only light the candles on Christmas Eve, so as not to burn the house down. I love German Christmas! Continue reading
Matthew 2: 1-12 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. …and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
Growing up we spent Christmas Eve at our Great-Grandparents Randall’s house. There were many, many people there to eat tamales that Grandma and her daughters (my Grandmother and her sisters) spend days making. We’d have our dinner, and then Grandma Pearl would shuffle all of the little kids — the second cousins — into the back bedroom and dress us for the annual presentation of the nativity. The angels were dressed in white garbage bags with sliver tinsel around our waists and bobby-pinned on our heads. Mary and Joseph were usually my sister and our cousin Keith. If there happened to be a newish baby that year, he or she would be Baby Jesus. If not there was the dolly we called “Kay” in the toy box that was a fabulous stand in. The oldest teenagers were the narrators and song leaders. And usually the rowdy boys were the “Wise Guys” (thank you Uncle Richard for that — it stuck!). The prized part was not Mary or Joseph, but those Wise Guys. Why? Because they got to wear paper Burger King crowns, and bath towels pinned over their shoulders. But from these many years of Christmas pageants, I came to love those Wise Men, they always had the fun part of the program — and those paper crowns! Continue reading
If this is the last week your children are in school — you have all of my sympathy, support, and a bag of cookies (very big bag of cookies!). I think this is the hardest week of the year, at least for me. I feel like we have to army crawl with one arm over the finish line on Friday.
This year, I started backwards clicking on my Family Search profile. To my surprise I found that we have several lines of French and Italian ancestors. One of these ancestors was Queen Beatrice of Provence — one of the four sister queens of Medieval Europe. I recommend reading the story of these four sisters, it’s very interesting. Europe as we know it today did not always exist. In the Middle Ages, country and regional boundaries were very different. The area of Southern France, known as modern day Provence was not part of France. France was the area around Paris. In Provence they spoke Occitan which is a romance language, that sounds sort of French, but not all the way. This area had more in common with Italy than Paris. We assign these carols to the French and Italians, but their origins are not necessarily the France and Italy that we know today. Still they are so beautiful and celebrate our Savior Jesus Christ. Continue reading
Luke 2: 7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” We know Christ was born into humble circumstances. There is some debate and scholarly study on what those circumstances actually were. Was the Savior’s birth in a barn? In a guest room? The family room? We won’t know that till He comes again and tells us.
I found this sweet story titled, Jesus is Born, in an old issue of the Liahona:
“Mary wrapped her baby in clean swaddling clothes and made a little bed for Him in the soft, clean hay of the manger. Joseph knew that this baby was the Son of Heavenly Father. He named the baby Jesus, just as an angel had told him earlier.
The angels of heaven rejoiced! The prophets’ promises were fulfilled. Jehovah, now called Jesus, had been born on earth. A new star shone in the heavens to announce the good news.
On a hillside an angel appeared to shepherds, and a bright light shone all around. The shepherds had never seen such a thing, and they were very afraid. Continue reading
If you get emails from the Church, you’ve probably seen this already. If not here is a link to the announcement for changes in how the Church will advance girls and boys throught the Young Women program and the Aaronic Priesthood quorums.
Beginning in January 2019, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and the Beehive class or deacons quorum as age-groups, not on their individual 12th birthdays as they have in the past.
In addition, young men will be eligible to be ordained to a priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14, and 16, and youth will be eligible to obtain a limited-use temple recommend beginning in January of the year they turn 12—based on their “individual worthiness, readiness, and personal circumstances.”
The announcement has a few more details. We encourage you to read through this announcement, and let us know what you think in the comments. It’s exciting times to be a member of the Lord’s church. My husband just remarked he wished Pres. Nelson would slow down just a smidge, not all of us are as fast and good at skiing as he is.