Thursday, January 12, 2012


This was a beautiful program. The numbers were lovely.
Breathe of Heaven- Kelly Albright (Mary is told about her baby)
Guard Him Joseph- Brandon Albright (Joseph watches over the baby and mother)
Annandale Zone- Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Ashburn Zone- Silent Night
Oakton Zone- Angels,We have heard on High

Centreville Zone- Away in a Manger

Fredericksburg Zone- Joy to the World
McLean Zone- With Wondering Awe

Dennis Fotheringham- It Came upon a Midnight Clear
Mt.Vernon- Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains

Woodbridge Zone- Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Brandon Albright- Immanuel and Oh Holy Night

At the end of Pres. Albright's narrative, I gave some remarks entitled "Gifts of Christmas"
I love the story of the Wise Men and their great desire to see the Christ child and to present to him gifts. The were so dedicated in this purpose that they traveled many years in order to accomplish this task. They recognized that it is we who should be giving gifts to Him during this season.
Even though it is the Lords' birthday, so rightly He should be receiving the gifts, it is our Heavenly Father and the Lord who has gives us untold gifts.
The gifts of repentance and the mighty change of heart that accompanies this act.
The gift of the atonement is His most miraculous gift to us.
Another precious gift from our Father is Prayer.
I told of our recent visit to the Sacred Grove.
Elder F Burton Howard describes his visit there:
"We came to a small sign made of brass with gold letters and black background. Mounted on 2 wooden posts. The sign read, "The Sacred Grove- and then these words - "God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in this grove."
It did not say "The Church of Jesus Christ", or "Visitors Welcome". Just the simple statement.
Even someone who didn't believe it could not pass by it without being profoundly affected."

Because a young man chose to PRAY to His Heavenly Father, the Gospel was restored.
When we were in the grove I collected leaves from the ground for each missionary. I laminated them and gave one to each as a reminder of the reality of the First Vision and of the Promise of Prayer. I asked them to each keep them in their scriptures.
My son Brandon sang a song entitled "Find Your Own Sacred Grove". This is a beautiful song that reminds us each to find our own place where we can go to our Father in prayer.

I told about gift-giving traditions and the history behind Christmas gift giving.

The best gift-giving allows us to serve others. And as missionaries we have that wonderful opportunity. Mission Christmas's can be wonderful memories when spent in the spirit of service.
This Christmas season, let's make sure we are like the wise men and make it our purpose, our great desire to present gifts to our Savior as we joyfully, happily, and spiritually go about serving our brothers and sisters.

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