Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tree of Life

Fascinating. I knock myself out the entire month of December in an attempt to fill every single day with memorable activities, meaningful traditions, and quality family time. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which activities are successful and well received by the kids and which activities are a complete bust. Sometimes I shell out some serious cash and splurge on a big budget activity only to have the kids complain about this or that and the whole thing crash and burn. Other times I'm sure that the activity will be a waste of time and it turns out to be a huge hit! You just never know. So on the Sunday prior to Christmas when we didn't really have an activity on the books, and we decided last minute to throw the kids in the car (didn't even bother putting on shoes and socks), and took I field trip to "the Tree of Life" in Draper, my expectations were pretty low. The Tree of Life is a single tree in the center of a spacious field that is lit with literally a million white, glittering lights. The detail with which each and every branch and twig is illuminated with lights is quite magnificent. Since we were unprepared to face the cold, evening temperatures, we parked near the tree and decided to have an impromptu family testimony meaning. I shared the symbolism of the Tree of Life from Lehi's vision in the Book of Mormon and testified to my sons of the joy that is found by clinging to the word of God and following Jesus Christ towards eternal life. They listened--a true Christmas miracle!--as I explained that the REAL gift of the Christmas season is the birth of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice that enables us to live together as a family in heaven. Afterwards, I asked if anyone else wanted to share their testimonies and, to my surprise, Hank, then Max, and even Ben and Joey eagerly volunteered to share their sweet, budding little testimonies. For those few minutes, sitting in the warmth of our car, beneath the light of the Tree of Life, all of the superficial, commercial, worldliness of the holiday fell away and our family shared a very tender moment reflecting on and expressing deep gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Of the many Christmas memories that I manufactured, this unplanned, zero-budget, low-key activity was the one that I will remember the most.

I didn't take any pictures of our little testimony meeting, but these photos of the boys making snow angels and working on a snow fort remind me that sometimes the most memorable activities don't require any money or fancy extras at all.

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