|Elder Jepsen with sister-in-law Brittany and brother Paul, both returned missionaries.|
This last week has been a lot of fun but also frustrating. Christmas is a beautiful time when more people are friendly, happy and open to talk about the Christ in Christmas, while others get so busy with arranging and preparing for Christmas that it leaves no room for Christ. It saddens me to see our Savior forgotten at the very time that we have set aside for remembering Him.
In the New Testament, Luke, Chapter 10, there is an excellent parallel to what has sadly happened to many people's Christmas as preparations for the event begins to overshadow the Spirit of the event:
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Here in Denmark, Christmas is celebrated December 24th in the evening, focused around a big family dinner, followed by a reading of the Nativity Story and an exchange of the presents from under the Christmas tree. The event has for many generations been the time when family gathered at home for the evening, remembering the birth of our Savior. Singing hymns and fun traditional songs about Christmas together. Unfortunately, the reading of the Nativity Story, singing the many beautiful hymns are disappearing and other traditions are taking their place.
This, the first Christmas of my mission people cancelled our few teaching appointments, or people were not home. It's saddening that at a time when so many are celebrating the birth of Christ, that we as bearers of His message are cancelled, forgotten or ignored. But, we'll just keep on trying!
While we didn't get to talk about our Savior as much as we would have liked during Christmas, our hearts and stomachs were filled to capacity. A lot of good people invited us to their home for dinner during Christmas and we enjoyed all the good food, mandarins, clementines, treats, and sweets. Ay! Christmas was fun.
Happy New Years!