Saturday, December 19, 2009


I love Christmas. I enjoy all the trappings of the holiday, and I still get caught up in the excitement of anticipation. Writing and receiving cards, singing carols, decorating the house with nativity scenes we've collected from around the world, and even wrapping gifts (on a good day) lend to the excitement of the holiday, which for me has both spiritual and social importance.

There are plenty of scholars who make clear that Jesus was not born in December, and in fact Mormons believe modern revelation confirms this fact. But that does not slow us down from celebrating the Savior's birth with the rest of the world on December 25. Interestingly, we do not have special Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services to attend; instead, we celebrate those times privately in our homes with our families.

We do speak and sing of Christmas in our regularly Sunday services around the holiday. The English-language ward (congregation) we attended in Taipei sponsors an annual Christmas pageant one weekend in December, and over four performances they repeat a live nativity play complete with an angelic choir and Mary riding in on a donkey (well, we used a half-blind horse, but it was a fair substitute). The pageant ha been performed since 2001 in an open air amphitheater in a park near the part of town where many westerners live, and westerners enjoy the traditional Christmas celebration, and local Taiwanese seem to enjoy this glimpse into Christianity, too.

Participating (my wife supervised the sewing and repair of costumes, we've sung in and led and accompanied the choir, and even our children participated as an angel, a shepherd and a member of the children's choir) was a great way to surround ourselves in the spirit of the season while offering a gift to our neighbors.

Having returned to the US this year, we have also returned to home-bound traditions, and will enjoy our own family-style nativity play on Christmas Eve.

- Paul

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