Sister Julie B. Beck: A time to celebrate His birth

It was Christmas Day of 1986 that I really learned what Christmas is all about.

For the past 12 months, many members of our ward and community in Alpine, Utah, where my husband served as a counselor in the bishopric, had died. Even today, when a person walks through the cemetery in Alpine, they will notice the prevalence of the year 1986 on headstones.

To this day, it is hard to talk about that year. We were attending funerals more than once a month.

The first funeral was for a young father of nine children. Then older, beloved members of our ward family passed away.

And that summer, tragedy struck our neighborhood twice: A 2-year-old boy was killed in the driveway of a home after a missionary open house and a 10-year-old girl died while riding her bicycle. The girl's friend was seriously injured in the tragic accident.

Finally, my 60-year-old father-in-law died in his sleep at our ward campout. He just went to sleep and didn't wake up. We were heartbroken.

That fall, we lost even more ward members to death.

By December, the entire ward was looking forward to Christmas.

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