Relief Society Ministering Christmas Message: Mary’s Imperfect Christmas
I love Christmas, but it isn’t always easy. So this year I wanted a Relief Society Ministering Christmas Message that focused on how to fill our hearts and lift our spirits when things aren’t measuring up. Mary’s first Christmas wasn’t perfect either, and I figured there was a lot to be learned from her.
I have included the message, “Mary’s Imperfect Christmas,” below. Then I made these wooden nativity boards for the sisters I minister to as a reminder of that simple and rugged first Christmas. I used a reusable mylar stencil from Stencil Revolution and then sanded over the image and applied a stain to make it look more rustic.
I got a little carried away, and ended making some of the wood slice nativity ornaments as well.
I made the wood slices from the branches I trimmed off my tree in the front yard. These are actually really fun and easy. I just printed off a nativity design and traced it over the wood slice with a ballpoint pen. I pushed hard so that it would leave an impression in the wood. Then I traced over the impression with a wood burning pen.
And here is the Relief Society Ministering Christmas Message that goes with it!
Mary’s Imperfect Christmas
When we think about Christmas, we usually see perfection. As if all the sweet memories of previous Christmases rise to the top like cream. Or like window shoppers, we see passing glimpses of well-decorated houses and the smiles of children.
It almost doesn’t feel like Christmas unless there is a tree lit in the living room, the family is all home, everybody is getting along, nobody has the stomach flu, and the food is as good as Tiny Tim’s roast goose. We start to believe that Christmas ought to be a guarantee of perfection. We find ourselves saying things like, “It isn’t fair that not everybody is here this Christmas” or “Can’t I have it the way I want at least this one time of the year?”
But not even Mary, the mother of our Savior, had a perfect Christmas. If anything, that first Christmas was filled with unplanned events, awkward family situations, and imperfect surroundings.
I remember being a little miffed when my first child was born. An early birth and an ill-timed move out of our apartment had dashed all my hopes of “nesting.” I had wanted everything prepared so that I could just rest and enjoy this beautiful experience. But for Mary, not only was there no nesting, but can you imagine trying to give birth and care for a newborn in a stable? And this was after traveling about 92 miles to Bethlehem over hills and rough roads, in what was a 4- to 5-day-journey on foot and donkey.
We don’t get many details about what the experience must have been like for Mary personally, but I love the line in Luke 2:19, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
What things do I keep and ponder in my heart at Christmas? Do I mull over self-pity, a sense of injustice, or feelings of inadequacy? Or like Mary, do I think of the signs and miracles of Jesus’s birth? Do I try to better understand my role and how His birth and sacrifice changed everything for me?
Christmas was never meant to be about perfection. As President Monson shared, “Let us make Christmas real. It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others.”
So if you are mourning over a loss, hurting over a struggling child, or feeling like you don’t have enough to give. Just remind yourself that you are only having a “Mary Christmas” instead of a “Merry Christmas.” You are not alone. The Lord loves you. When Christ condescended to come to earth, He did it in the simplest, most humble way possible. His life was not without heartbreak and sorrow. And thanks to the Atonement, He not only suffered for our sins, but He suffered so that He would know how to succor us if we only turn to Him.
To help remind us of that first Christmas, I made this simple, rustic, wooden nativity. It is a reminder not to lose the joy of Christmas by trying to make Christmas something it was never meant to be.
Did you like this Relief Society Ministering Christmas Message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here.