December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

We continue our tradition of using our blog to deliver our annual Holiday greeting. If you'd like to see what we've been up to during 2011, feel free to browse through the blog posts from this year in the archives section on the left side of this page. You'll see milestone birthdays, school plays and musicals, scouting awards, braces on and off, family trips, links to Ro's cooking blog, filming the Church’s New Testament Project and just general craziness. Most of the major events of this year can be found here.

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is watching the many renditions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” In this classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy but uncharitable banker, is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve. Of all the ghosts that appear to him that evening, one of our favorites is the first, Scrooge’s former business partner Jacob Marley. In a brief exchange that captures the central theme of the entire story, Marley, burdened with large chains, appears to Scrooge and explains that the chains were of his own making during his mortal life. Scrooge, confused at how this could have been suggests to Marley:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. “Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, st 1, 1843) As much as Scrooge had tried to distance himself from other people and their needs, he came to understand that he truly was connected to “mankind” and thus he found great joy as he then went about serving them.

At this time of year, may we remember that the Savior’s life was infinite for all mankind. Remembering this should lead us to doing the same - devoting and dedicating our life to all in need. Is there a member of “mankind” that needs our help? Someone we should reach out to? Someone to uplift and encourage? Someone to mourn with? Someone to comfort? Someone to serve? Someone to forgive? In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, let’s take time to pause and seek out those who might need our help so that we, like Scrooge, can make “mankind” our business and, by doing so, experience the true spirit of Christmas.

Speaking of that wonderful Christmas spirit, please enjoy the video below which was recently released as a “Gift to the World” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This video is the first in a series of over 50 vignettes depicting scenes from the Savior’s life from the New Testament and are free to download by anyone worldwide. This video series is the same that Maddy and I participated in as Extra’s. For more information on that wonderful filming experience, click here. To see the other videos, pictures from the scenes or to download your own free copies, click here.

Wishing you and your families the choicest of God's blessings this Christmas and into 2012.

Ro, Jeni, Maddy and Joey Shearer