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Ten Things of Thankful: Nearly Christmas Edition

Photo: White statues of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in a reflecting pool. Gold baubles float in the water around them.
This is a busy time of year, and though it isn't as busy for me as it has been in past years, my to-do list still seems longer than the hours in the days. However, I find that when I spend time to focus on the reason for the season, I can feel the joy of Christmas and the tasks-at-hand fall back into their proper place. This week I had the opportunity to attend some wonderful events, and I'd love to take you along for a virtual tour:

Let's start at the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, last Friday night. The Tabernacle Choir joined with the Orchestra at Temple Square and the Bells on Temple Square, along with dancers and guest artists Kelli O'Hara and Richard Thomas, to present a spectacular Christmas concert. Although I couldn't record any of the performance, the following 2-minute video from the church provides an overview:




The last time John and I had attended a Christmas concert by the Tabernacle Choir, they were still holding those concerts in the Tabernacle. The Conference Center is much larger, and had a stage large enough for dancers and scenery that wouldn't work in the Tabernacle. 


Photo: The view of the inside of the Tabernacle, as taken through a window. About 6000 people can fit on the wooden benches. The Conference Center, by contrast, seats 21,000 in padded seats. 
After the concert, John and I walked around Temple Square for a while, enjoying the lights, buildings, and Christmas nativities.


Photo: Life-like statues of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in a stable
Photo:  Trees and bushes are completely covered in lights outside the Assembly Hall on Temple Square
Photo: The granite spires of the Salt Lake Temple rise above light-covered trees
Photo: Another view of the granite Salt Lake Temple, with light-covered trees in the foreground
The music of the concert, combined with the lights and nativities in such a beautiful setting, certainly brought the spirit of Christmas.

The next morning, we had the luxury of sleeping in, something that rarely happens. We're usually both awake before the sun, so even 8 a.m. counts as sleeping in. After breakfast, we supported a charitable effort in our community; children in our neighborhood hold an annual cocoa and cookies sale to raise money to buy teddy bears to donate to local clinics, hospitals, and homeless shelters. 


Photo: A hand-drawn, illustrated sign that reads: "Hot Cocoa! and Cookies Help us raise money for teddy bears we donate the teddy bears for clinics hospitals and homeless shelters."
On Sunday, this quote was mentioned by two different speakers, and serves as a reminder that we aren't perfect, and that's OK. We just need to keep plugging along. (The conference talk this quote came from was certainly interesting, it's not everyday that you hear an apostle referencing both The Hobbit and Harry Potter.) 
If you hesitate in this adventure because you doubt your ability, remember that discipleship is not about doing things perfectly; it’s about doing things intentionally. It is your choices that show what you truly are, far more than your abilities.



Monday evening, John and I bundled up and headed out into the 20-some degree temperatures to walk through Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah to see Luminaria. 


Photo: Rows upon rows of lights descend down a hill toward a tree of lights. The word, "Luminaria" is spelled out in lights at the base of the tree.
Photo: A tulip field is created with lights, and a sign states, "Blossoms of Light"
Photo: The field at the entrance to the Light of the World statue garden is covered in lanterns hanging on shepherd's hooks.  
Photo: A metal light fixture hangs from a hoop in front of a tree that shines with red lights
Wednesday after John finished work, we went to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. There is always such a peaceful feeling there.  (By the way, the Salt Lake Temple is going to be closed at the end of this year for extensive remodeling/earthquake retrofitting. In about 4 years, there will be an open house for the public before it is rededicated. You are all invited!)

Speaking of invited, this Sunday in congregations all over the world, special Christmas services will be held in meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The service will last one hour, and everyone is welcome. To find a congregation in your area, visit this link

I haven't been counting, but let's see what things I'm thankful for: the joy of Christmas, a Christmas concert, lights, Nativities, beautiful buildings, sleep, charitable children, reminders, warm clothes, temples, church, John. 

And, I'm thankful for you readers! May you all bask in the light and warmth of this season. Merry Christmas!

Joining the party this week:
The Prolific Pulse
MessyMimi's Meanderings
The Wakefield Doctrine
A Season and a Time
TeachezWell Blog
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Comments

  1. What a wonderful Christmas season! I enjoyed you thankfuls so very much!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It is a wonderful time of year! (Which reminds me, I still need to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" this month.)

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  2. Such beautiful places, i am thankful you shared them. Merry Christmas!

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  3. Beautiful! How wonderful you and John could have these experiences together.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I was very excited that we were able to get tickets to the Tabernacle Choir concert!

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  4. Wow! What a fabulous post! I LOVE those photos and indeed, they do spread the holiday spirit- and the real reason for the season. Thank you for sharing! Wow, Kelli O'Hara has a voice like nothing else. Amazing. The music is gorgeous. Was it cold outside where you live? Anyway, I think it would be wonderful to visit your amazing city.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them. I agree with you on Kelli O'Hara's voice. Yes, it was/is cold where we live here in Utah. We don't have snow on the ground currently, though the mountains behind us do, and we are forecast to get a white Christmas!

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