When you work for the Church their work Christmas parties are heavily weighted on the spiritual (and delicious food) and less on the partying (and alcohol). Shocker.
They offer devotionals for the different departments within the office building, followed by a very delicious lunch.
I'm still dreaming about the spinach dip.
For my department (Curriculum) we were combined with the Priesthood department. I have no idea what that department really is, and neither did anyone else I asked. (Granted I was only asking interns, but whatevs.) I'm assuming the Priesthood department includes the auxiliary presidencies because the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies were all there. It's very possible the Young Men presidency was there too, but honestly I have no idea what they look like, so I couldn't really tell.
Elder Andersen introduced our speaker Bishop Burton who gave a wonderful talk on keeping the right mindset during the Christmas season.
Simplicity. That was the challenge he gave us. Keep Christmas as simple as you can.
Apparently American children see an average of 40,000 commercials a year. They have less responsibilities in the home now because parents are worried about overwhelming their children.
No wonder when Christmas morning comes and children sit down to open the many presents under the tree that all they can think of is more, more, MORE.
What happened to the old-fashioned feelings of gratitude? Bishop Burton wonders. Good question.
He gave us his personal views on what we can take away from the Christmas season that will bless our lives:
1. Read scriptures (Not just the Christmas verses, but also scriptures of Christ and his ministry)
2. Listen to good music
3. Serve (this forces you to distinguish between NEEDS and WANTS. Especially the needs of others.)
4. Keep it simple (this helps us to focus more on the legacy of Christmas than the commercial hype. Several pioneer stories talk about simple Christmases where they had practically nothing-but they were the best Christmases they ever had.)
Sometimes people feel like they can't find the Spirit of Christmas. They are looking in the wrong places. You won't find it in the Christmas that the American commercialism and even Mormon culture have created. Both of these tell us how we should feel during the holidays. And when the Christmas bliss isn't powerful every year we become disappointed.
So how do we feel the Spirit of Christmas?
You guessed it: keep it simple. Watch the Christmas devotional (This Sunday!) and sing songs of Christ. Remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
Bishop Burton closed by saying that God rarely does things the way of the world. We need to look for him in the seemingly unimportant places in our lives. If we expect him in the grand places, we will probably be disappointed.
So embrace simplicity. And have a Merry Christmas.