Time to reflect on:
We (people in the apartment building and a few people from the branch) were celebrating in a little tiny room on the first floor of our apartment building in Guangzhou, China.
I'm not sure where the tree came from, but we had a tree, some reindeer ears, and a lighted sign saying, Merry Christmas.
In addition, we had the must unusual turkey dinner I have ever had. But, it was a turkey dinner. Turkey in China - they eat chicken, so it was a rare treat.
After dinner, we played games, and I think we sang a few songs. There were no presents, but it was a memory that I will never forget; a group of good, good people celebrating. And, even though not all of us were Christians, all of us realized it was a special day. Imagine, a Christmas without one present.
And, yet, as the people in Whoville say, Christmas still came.
WOW, what an amazing Christmas this was. Because we had visitors from China! Allen Sun, and his 15 year old daughter, who were living in Palo Alto, California for one year, came to spend the holidays with us.
I was so nervous about what we would do with them the entire time. I needn't have worried. It was all just perfect. On Christmas Eve, we ate at the Beijing Buffet (which they LOVED!), then drove to Hurricane and spent time with the Fishers. Then we drove around to look at the lights. The Suns were thrilled with all they saw.
Church was on Christmas morning, then we came home and opened presents that we had purchased for Allen and Cindy...they were so very appreciative of every little thing we gave them. Just small items, but they just were so happy and grateful. Jenni and her family came over for dinner. It was really a perfect Christmas and we had the opportunity to tell them the origins of this wonderful holiday.
These are not ghostly memories of Christmas Past, but they are fond memories and remind me that gifts are not even needed.
The gift of the Atonement is what is important. Family and friends are important. I want to always realize that.
I'm grateful for the Saviour, his Atonement, and the Gospel.