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FHE: Christ-centered Home

Conference Talk:
For more information on this topic read “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” by Elder Richard J. Maynes, Ensign, May 2011, 37.

Thought:
We understand and believe in the eternal nature of the family. This understanding and belief should inspire us to do everything in our power to establish a Christ-centered home.

(Elder Richard J. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” Ensign, May 2011, 37.)

Song:
“Happy Family,” Children’s Songbook, p. 198

Scripture:
That they should seek the Lord . . . and find him . . . For in him we live, and move, and have our being; . . . For we are also his offspring. (Acts 17:27-28)

Lesson:
Materials Needed: Several children’s blocks.

Procedure: Display the blocks on the tabletop. Ask for suggestions of things one family member can do to strengthen the family (pray, smile, show respect, obey, etc.). Each time a new idea is suggested, put a block on top of or beside another. Do this until a wall begins to form.

Ask: What would happen if we did at least one of these things for several days? Place an additional four or five blocks on the wall. Point out how much difference one person can make in strengthening the family. Liken the wall to a protection for the family.

Help your family members to understand that everything you have talked about also strengthens personal spirituality while strengthening the family. Similarly, as they continue to do things that increase personal spirituality, they also help protect family members. Discuss ways we can strengthen our personal testimony.

(Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, Object Lessons Made Easy, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010], p. 88.)

Story:
Ardeth Greene Kapp

Since I grew up in Alberta, Canada, I never had to dream of a white Christmas. There was always plenty of snow and cold at Christmastime. At least that’s how I remember it.

I also remember, besides the cold temperatures, the feeling of warmth, that happy feeling of being together as our parents, four aunts, uncles, and many cousins of all ages gathered at our grandparents’ big three-story house, where we remained from Christmas Eve clear through New Year’s Day.

This tradition must have seemed strange to the folks in our small town of Glenwood, since all of our aunts and uncles and cousins lived within walking distance of each other all year long, only a few blocks away from each other. It was not inconvenient for our dads and brothers to return home night and morning to milk the cows, do the chores, and be back in time for our large and happy family breakfast and evening supper. During the morning Conference Talk: we played games and listened to favorite stories told and retold by our grandmother as we gathered around the large grate in the floor that let the heat pour out from the furnace below. In the afternoon we practiced for the evening’s talent show while our mothers made pies and cakes. I don’t remember what our dads did during the day, but they joined us as we all gathered for supper; and after the evening meal we presented a talent show to a very responsive audience, who all sang together. We had a family orchestra and it was agreed, especially by our grandpa, that we were a very musical family.

Our Christmas morning tradition required everyone to wait at the top of the stairs until we could all go down together and gather around the big Christmas tree in the parlor. We had decorated our tree with strings of popcorn and cranberries. At the bottom of the stairs we waited for what seemed an awfully long time while Grandpa gave the family prayer. I remember wondering if the reason he prayed for so long was that all together we made such a big family. It seemed to me that each year, as our family grew bigger, his prayers got longer.

All these things occurred many years ago, but the memory of being together as a family for Christmas burns as brightly in my mind today as the flames in the fireplace that kept us warm.

I have a little pillow that hangs from our fireplace all year long. The message reads, in cross- stitch, “All Hearts Return Home for Christmas.” The quiet yearning to be home for Christmas does not diminish after childhood or after marriage. Since my husband’s parents were not living, it seemed essential that we travel from Utah to Glenwood, Alberta, Canada, every Christmas. It didn’t really matter that our car was old and the tires were smooth, that there was no money in our pockets, that the tuna fish sandwiches became very soggy by the second day, and that the radio announced that due to hazardous road conditions people should not travel except in emergencies. There was no question in my mind that being home for Christmas was an emergency.

Each year, so long as my parents lived in Canada, we went home for Christmas. Finally, eventually, I learned that you can be home for Christmas in Utah even though Christmases aren’t always white.

(Keeping Christmas: Stories from the Heart, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1996].)

Activity:
Hang a stocking for Jesus on the mantel, and fill it with notes listing all the good things that the family members commit to do to better themselves and those around them.

(Kimberly Bytheway and Diane H. Loveridge, Traditions, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2003], p.89.) 

Refreshment
Peppermint Angel Food Dessert

1 angel food cake
3/4 cup crushed red and white peppermint stick candy
1/2 cup milk
1/2 envelope (1 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
2 teaspoons water
2 cups heavy cream, whipped until stiff
1/2 cup chocolate syrup

Prepare or purchase an angel food cake. Slice into 3 horizontal layers when cool. Combine candy with milk; heat and stir until dissolved. Soften gelatin in water and add to milk and candy mixture. Chill until mixture starts to set; fold into whipped cream. Spread whipped cream mixture over bottom layer of cake. Drizzle chocolate syrup over whipped cream mixture. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat layers of whipped cream mixture and chocolate syrup. Repeat with third layer. Cover outside of cake with whipped cream mixture. Chill and serve.

(Lion House Cakes and Cupcakes, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011] p.8.)