Every year it seems that Christmas sneaks up on us more and more. It also seems to be much more commercialized every year. Thanksgiving is almost an afterthought to the huge sales that are taking place over the weekend and now even on Thanksgiving day. We seem to forget what this season is all about. We forget the great gift that brought about the Christmas season. This season I have made a greater effort to focus on the reason for the great holiday we call Christmas and give back because of all that I have received.

Just over a month ago my grandmother passed away. Learning about her and her efforts has opened my eyes to what Christmas can really be. We grew up getting jammies and undies hand sewn from her every year and then as we had children she did that for each of them. When she passed away she had 75 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren and every year it was her project to hand sew these items for each of them under 12. It was a great privilege to receive these items every year. She spent the entire year sewing these and preparing for her annual Christmas party on the first Saturday of December. As the party came this year there was no Grandma and there were no jammies. She will be missed, but the memory of her effort every year to make Christmas special for her family will live on.

I truly love the Christmas holiday and what it represents to each of us. It is the gift of a Son born here as mortal man to live and grow grace to grace. It is a story of one who was cast out and despised. In the words of Isaiah

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isa 53:3-5)

He truly is the gift given of the Father. Then as the Son he grew up receiving of a fulness (see D&C 93) to then give of his life in mortality and then through death as a sacrifice for us. He was the gift of salvation and exaltation through His Atoning sacrifice. He set the example by giving of all that he had and could and as we find opportunities to give so too will our lives be blessed.

I am thankful for the Christmas time and the opportunity to give. I love the joy that comes to the faces of my children as they receive, but even greater is the joy that they find as they give. Let us #ShareTheGift this Christmas season!

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