In anticipation of the births of each of my five children, I was comforted to know
At the first signs of their delivery, I knew where we would go.
I knew the doctor- and in some cases, the nurses.
With Jane, I had a tour of the hospital and even picked the room I wanted to
deliver her in with a window looking out to snowy Mt. Timpanogos.
(Which never happened since I had an emergency delivery and
she was almost delivered in the car).
But all in all, most of my children's deliveries were under control.
I suspect a lot of you have similar stories.
It's hard to imagine what it was like
for a very young Mary about to deliver her baby, the son of God,
the promised Messiah, and not knowing details of where, how, or when.
I am sure she was so uncomfortable and scared!
Mary's delivery of Jesus in a stable among the livestock
"because there was no room for them in the inn"
became the most important birth story in the world and yet was 100% not ideal.
I spent one Christmas in the burn unit in Salt Lake City, Utah, and
I was sure that Christmas would be the worst one ever.
I may be biased, but if you've ever been in a burn unit,
you'll know that next to the morgue,
it's probably the worst place in the hospital.
That Christmas evening, as I lay in my bed alone, feeling sorry for
myself and thinking about my family, my nurse came into my room
and asked if she could keep my door open so I could hear the
groups of volunteers who had come to share a Christmas program with the unit.
There were choirs, soloists, violinists, cellos, and guitars, and I even remember
a saxophone in there, too.
Hours of beautiful music and talent were shared with us that night
and I fell asleep wrapped in a beautiful quilt made and donated
by women from a local Relief Society ward, and thinking about how
these wonderful people had left their families, Christmas trees, presents,
living rooms and kitchens to spend their Christmas in the hospital with me.
I was overwhelmed with love and God's spirit.
Yes, Christmas in the burn unit was 100% NOT ideal for me
but has been of the most beautiful and unforgettable Christmases
I've had or probably ever will have.
Because of the Savior and His less-than-ideal beginning,
He can take our less-than-ideal situations and life experiences
and give us grace and wisdom to triumphantly overcome our struggles.
What a beautiful gift to give.
Sometimes we don't get what we desperately want or think we need,
and our prayers are going unanswered.
But my Christmas in the burn unit taught me that the Lord
knows me, loves me, and has a plan for me.
I think about my daughter, Claire, who is spending this Christmas
as a missionary in Brazil.
I'm sure many who have experienced Christmas away from home
agrees that she will feel homesick and sad, but perhaps this year
will be one of the most memorable days of her mission.
And she will fondly remember and lean on her whole life.
Because of the Savior born two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, there is hope
in our lives and our situations.
There is redemption, victory, and triumph. I testify that Jesus Christ,
whose birth and mission we honor and celebrate is the light of the world,
our Savior and Redeemer, hope, anchor, and salvation.
There is so much joy and peace in that knowledge!