One of my favorite Christmas traditions is selecting a new book to read to my family on Christmas Eve. For years, I've gone to the BYU Store and looked through their children's books to find - usually with the help of a sales associate's recommendation - the right book for the occasion. Some years I've picked classics like The Polar Express, and other years I've discovered new favorites like Red Ranger Comes Calling, by Berkeley Breathed. This year's story is The Christmas Train, by President Monson.
Then, on Christmas Eve, Peggy and I gather with our parents, children and now grandchildren. We read the story of the birth of Christ from Luke 2, and then I read the newly discovered book. This simple tradition has become a favorite.
President Worthen gets help selecting a Christmas book from BYU Store's Maddy Hunter and Lynne Blaser. Credit: Mark Philbrick, BYU Photo
I love this tradition mostly because it is so simple. It reminds me that it doesn't take much to find and share the real meaning of Christmas. Between the hectic holiday season and the complexity of our lives and our world, we can easily overlook the simple beauty of Christmas. One verse from Luke's account of the Nativity reminds me how we can get back to that simplicity: "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).
My hope is that each of you will take the time to find joy in the simple pleasures of the Christmas season. May your homes be filled with the wonder, awe and majesty brought about by the birth of a tiny baby who would redeem mankind. May this divine gift from a loving Heavenly Father bring you peace and hope throughout the coming year.
Please know how grateful I am for the opportunity to associate with you and for your dedicated contribution to making this a wonderful university.
Kevin J Worthen