Editor’s Note: This journal entry was written by Paula Jones, a guest on this week’s episode of our “This is the Gospel” podcast. You can hear Paula’s story here or in the player below.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2002
Today is Christmas Day! We’ve had a busy couple of days. We were back home in time for Santa to come, and boy did he come. The children received lots of neat things including a new puppy, a golden retriever named Nicholas after Saint Nicholas. Everything has been very nice.
However, just a few days ago things were not so pleasant. Last Thursday, Benson, who is now 18-months-old, came down with a stomach virus, and between then and Sunday everyone caught it. This meant we missed my grandparents’ get together, which is always a highlight of my Christmas, as well as church on Sunday. That Sunday had also been our congregation’s special Christmas Sacrament meeting in which our family was to sing “The Nativity Song.” I was so disappointed we couldn’t attend.
All of December was kind of a wash out for me. I had planned a Christmas party for the Young Women at our home and was looking forward to it, but due to an ice storm we had to cancel. My husband, Frankie, and I also missed the Bar Association Christmas Party because Benson had bronchitis. I missed our congregation’s Christmas party, too. But even though all of this happened and it seemed like I didn’t get to enjoy much of the Christmas season, I felt more of the true Christmas spirit than I ever have before.
This month, as Benson hasn’t felt well, I laid with him on his bed and rocked him in my rocking chair more than usual. As I would do so, I would sing to him and substitute the songs I usually sing with Christmas carols. While lying there in the dark and holding my baby, these carols came alive for me. I truly felt what a silent, holy night it must have been in Bethlehem. I could see the brightness of the stars. I felt the presence of the beautiful virgin mother Mary and the newborn baby Jesus who truly was so tender and mild. I was able to feel a little of the wonder of the shepherds as they were visited by heavenly messengers. I could see the heavens fill with light and joy and hear the angels’ voices. The reality of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, was so clear and true. It wasn’t just something I heard or believed—it was something I too had witnessed through the medium of holy and inspired music.
The hope that was delivered to the world that first Christmas came into my heart with an intenseness I had never felt before. Oh, how I wanted to fall on my knees at the manger of my Lord. These feelings came to me during those simple, quiet moments and as they came, tears streamed down my face. I’m so grateful for this Christmas and for that first Christmas so long ago. This year, the two have come together and the years between have disappeared long enough for me to glimpse why we truly celebrate Christmas.