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Keeping Christ in Christmas | Guest Post

Keep Christ in Christmas this year with these simple tips!

Christmas has always, always been my favorite holiday by far! It used to be because of no school, snow, and presents. But, as I’ve grown up, especially after moving to Utah for college and being so close to Temple Square during the holidays, it’s become more about the spirit of Christmas–family, love, giving, service, friends, and Christ.  Today, my friend, Karen talks about how to keep Christ in Christmas.


Hello, friends of Tayler and The Morrell Tale! I’m very excited to be a guest today, sharing some thoughts on how to keep Christ in Christmas.

Keep Christ in Christmas this year with these simple tips!

Christmas is different for everyone. Some look forward to it all year long, while others just want to pull the covers over their heads and sleep from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

No matter where you fall on that spectrum, I think many of us can agree that it gets difficult to keep our focus on the real purpose of this time of year. With so many distractions competing for our attention, here are four ways you can remember Christ and keep the spirit of Christmas with you.

1. Serve others in meaningful ways.

I know people get more generous at Christmastime. Tips get a little bigger. Donations are higher. Gifts are abundant. These are all great things. But you can truly feel the spirit of Christ when you do more than toss a few dollars into a bucket or clean out that coat closet. Find a soup kitchen where you can go and serve meals. Help pack up boxes to send to the troops. Participate in an adopt-a-family type event and bring Christmas to a family that would otherwise go without.

When it comes to finding ways to give service, there are endless options. And each one will touch someone’s life, while also helping you feel the love our Savior has for each of us.

2. Enjoy Christ-centered entertainment.

“Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” is definitely a fun tune. So are “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The jury is mixed on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” And there is plenty of room for all of those wintery songs. But when it comes time to really focusing on Christ’s birth, you can’t go wrong by choosing music that focuses on that miracle. The album O Holy Night by the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra is a great way to get started.

In addition, watching movies and specials that focus on the spirit of Christmas will help set the tone. Netflix and Hulu have some great options right now.

3. Focus on your gift recipients, rather than on the gifts.

There is an ever-increasing number of complaints about how consumerism has taken over Christmas. And for many people, that is true. Some respond by refusing to give gifts altogether, or by doing so only grudgingly. The thing is, Christmas gift-giving isn’t inherently bad. It’s all about your attitude. Instead of hurrying through a long list of wish lists, spend some time thinking about each recipient, and what would be special to them. Take the opportunity to ponder your relationships, their personalities, their needs and wants. And then choose gifts that are meaningful. You might be surprised how this impacts your feelings about gift-giving in general. Plus, it helps to remember that we love our friends and family just as much as our Savior does.

4. Read or tell the Nativity Story.

One tradition I miss from my childhood is one that happened every night on Christmas Eve. My mom would gather us kids under the Christmas tree, beside the Nativity Scene that was always placed in a prominent place, and she told us the Nativity Story.

If you don’t feel comfortable reciting it, open up Luke 2 and read the account straight from the Bible. Spend some time on Christmas Eve thinking about the real reasons we celebrate Christmas. This will help you go into Christmas morning with a positive attitude, and hopefully a little extra love for your family.

What are some of your tips for keeping Christ in Christmas?

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Karen Peterson is a blogger, traveler, and movie critic loving life in Southern California. Her hobbies include watching too many movies, binging too much television, and winning arguments on Twitter. When she’s not stirring up trouble online, she can often be found in the Dole Whip line at Disneyland, or attempting to catch free t-shirts at Angels baseball games.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Christ is the Center

Christ is the center of my religion. No matter what anyone else says, I am saved because of him. It doesn't matter if I am Mormon. I am Christian, Christ is my Savior.

I never once in my life lacked a testimony of God, the Father, His Only Begotten Son and our Savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I have always known that I am a Child of God, and it is through the Atonement and Grace of Christ we are saved. I have always believed in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Yup. The Book of Mormon. Yup. I am a Mormon. And, I am a Christian. I have been both my entire life, and will be forever more.

Christ is the center of my religion, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I am Mormon, I believe in Christ as my Savior, and I am saved. That is all that matters.

However, since I grew up in the Mormon Church, it wasn’t until recently that I developed my own testimony rather than relying on others and being content with my religious culture. I’m sure the same thing happens to anyone born into a family religion.

I have always had a thirst for learning–I relish in knowing about different cultures, religions, history. I am a life-long student (if I could be in college forever, studying topics of my choice for free, I would!). I have always been able to connect the dots between different sects, denominations, and religions. Learning about Jung’s theory on the Collective Unconscious, I became a fan of tolerance between all religions. They all stemmed from the same Adamic religion that God and Christ entrusted to Adam and his descendants. I know many people feel slighted when Mormons say that my religion is “the only true religion.” I don’t like that phrase. Through my studies of different world religions, esoteric history, symbols and myths, and my own knowledge of my religion, I have come to see that all religions have truth and light. Some may have more than others. I believe my religion has some priesthood keys and Gospel knowledge that others may not. But, I don’t believe that any religion is the “wrong” religion…

Read more at Life As Me.

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

#Hallelujah | Follow Him and Find New Life

He lives! Our Savior lives! Follow Him and find new life. Because of Him, we can be with our families for the eternities. #Hallelujah!

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, representing Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, treading on palm leaves, before He spent the last week of His mortal life. But, as we know, a week later, three days after He was crucified and died for our sins, He was resurrected. And because of Him, we, too, can taste everlasting life. #Hallelujah, He lives!

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He lives! Our Savior lives! Follow Him and find new life. Because of Him, we can be with our families for the eternities. #Hallelujah!

I love the Easter season. Easter represents spring, new beginnings, new life. And how appropriate that Spring begins around Easter. Spring in it’s eternity represents Christ’s resurrection. Because of His death, we may live. Because of Him, I belong to a hopeful church. Because of Him, I know I can see my family again after death.

I have been very lucky in my life not to have known the loss of a dear one. I have known both sets of grandparents in my life. However, my maternal grandmother died when I was one. I grew up hearing about Grandma Rhea. I grew up hearing farm stories about her youth from my dad. I grew up hearing about how she cared for my mother when she was newly wed as a barely-20-year old. I grew up hearing how I look a lot like her. I grew up seeing a sketching of her in my living room, her kind eyes always beaming down on me. I grew up with my family wrapping ourselves in a quilt made of her old clothing. I grew up believing that she is my guardian angel. Because of Christ, I know that I will see her again, and this time, I will know her. #Hallelujah

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My paternal grandpa passed away on Christmas Day 2014. We all knew it was inevitable. He was suffering from very poor health for years before, and it was finally time for him to leave us and return to our Father. Even though my grandfather made mistakes in how he treated people and himself throughout his life, his grandchildren were his pride and joy. He loved us to no ends. I remember having tickle fights with him. He taught me how to play chess and cribbage. He would always invite us to sit on his lap while he sped down the road and popped wheelies in his electric wheelchair (giving my mom and grandma heart attacks in doing so). He always wanted to see us. My grandpa was declining in health and in a nursing home when I was married in August 2012. He was even worse when I gave birth to Rhys in July 2014. When Rhys was about a month old, we visited my grandpa. He teared up when he saw Rhys, his 7th great-grandchild. One of the most precious pictures I have of my grandpa is of his big, old, withered hand, holding Rhys’s tiny, new, perfect hand. I cherish that photo. Because of Christ, I know that I will see him again, and he will be able to play with Rhys even more vigorously than he ever was able to play with me. #Hallelujah

grandpa and rhys

This Easter season, I challenge you to think more of our Savior, Jesus Christ, than of Easter bunny and eggs and chocolate. Think of those you have lost and who can be with you again through the Resurrection of Christ. Follow Him and find new life. Repent of your sins, try to be more like Him, and feel His love and Grace and Life within you.

What makes you say Hallelujah this Easter?

He Is Risen

  1. 1. He is risen! He is risen!
  2. Tell it out with joyful voice.
    He has burst his three days’ prison;
    Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
    Death is conquered; man is free.
    Christ has won the victory. 

  3. 2. Come with high and holy hymning;
    Chant our Lord’s triumphant lay.
    Not one darksome cloud is dimming
    Yonder glorious morning ray,
    Breaking o’er the purple east,
    Symbol of our Easter feast. 

  4. 3. He is risen! He is risen!
    He hath opened heaven’s gate.
    We are free from sin’s dark prison,
    Risen to a holier state.
    And a brighter Easter beam
    On our longing eyes shall stream.

**Click here to learn more about the Easter 2016 #Hallelujah campaign.

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Book Review | Continuous Conversion

If you have been following my Instagram or Twitter for a while, you know that I have just been raving about The Continuous Conversion by Brad Wilcox. Seriously! This book has been a game changer! As you know, this year, I’ve had a little bit of trial of faith. But, this book has helped me refocus on the plain and precious truths of the Gospel!

To truly believe in your faith, you need to have a real conversion. It is a progress. It takes time. #mormon #lds

Because this book is just so stock full of amazing truths, I’m going to do the same as I did with One Thousand Gifts and just list some of my favorite quotes! But, whether or not you are Mormon, I seriously suggest reading this to focus on Christ, His Grace, His love for us, and His plan for us. (He does include a few chapters on the LDS temples, but I decided to leave those quotes out and focus on ones that other Christians could relate to as well.)

“God isn’t just proving us, He’s improving us.”

“‘I can’t do this Mormon thing,’ a friend told me. ‘I’ve tried and the expectations are just too high.’ And she’s not alone in her thinking. Many people, as they feel themselves falling short of perfection, are tempted to quit trying. But are there only two options? Think of it this way: When a person is learning to play the piano, are the only two options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? Similarly, in mortality, are the only two choices being perfect or giving up? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes practice. Discipleship is a journey, and true conversion is a continuous process.”

“Sometimes finding hope and motivation to keep moving forward…is as simple as going back to core doctrines and refocusing on them through new eyes.”

“True conversion occurs when we stop trying to earn heaven and start trying to learn it. Conversion deepens as we understand the purposes and power of God and recognize how freely He offers His help…Conversion is refined as we nourish our testimonies and bring life to our discipleship. Conversion endures as we draw on the power of Christ’s name and His holy temple. Conversion allows us to reach outward as we serve int he kingdom and juggle life’s many responsibilities.”

To truly believe in your faith, you need to have a real conversion. It is a progress. It takes time. #mormon #lds

“I guess it would be easier if getting a body or getting baptized were our ultimate goals, but those are not the end. They are just a means to the end. Going to the temple and even going to the celestial kingdom are not the ends. They are means to the real end. The ultimate goal is for all of us to become more like our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.”

“Elder Dallin H Oaks said: ‘The Final Judgement is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts–what we have done. It is an acknowledgement of the final effects of our acts and thoughts–what we have become.”

“We accept the Atonement by faith, which includes repentance, covenants, and ordinancesBaptism and temple ordinances are not attempts to add to the finished works of Christ’s sacrifice. These and other righteous works are extensions of our faith, by-products of our acceptance of Christ, and evidence of Christ working with, in, and through us.”

“How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?”

“Parents know that children are learning and growing. Their love is bigger than smelly diapers and temper tantrums. They see beyond such moments to the children’s great potential. God must feel the same.”

“Giving up would be rejecting the Atonement. Trying is accepting the Atonement.”

“In the command, ‘Be ye therefore perfect’ (Matthew 5:48), the Greek word that was translated as perfect is teleios, which means ‘finished’. We are finished as we place ourselves in the hands of the ‘finisher of [our] faith’ (Moroni 6:4). As we make covenants with Christ, He offers to be our tender tutor.”

“I visualize grabbing the iron rod as grasping the arm of Jesus Christ. The only way any of us can make it is by holding on to the Savior and being infused with His power.”

“Because of the necessity of agency and choice, we must be the one to grasp, figuratively or literally, the extended had. It is that outreached hand that we call grace.”

“Taking hold of His hand and allowing Him to lift us doesn’t happen automatically or quickly. It is a spiritual skill that has to be learned and relearned, and then, that learning must be continually applied.”

To truly believe in your faith, you need to have a real conversion. It is a progress. It takes time. #mormon #lds

“Occasionally I have seen a man walking near the BYU campus carrying a large cross bearing the words ‘saved by Grace’. He seems to thinks LDS are missing that message. On the contrary, we already acknowledge and agree that we are saved by grace alone. However, we also recognize that being saved by grace is only part of the purpose of Christ’s cross. Christ came to save us by bridging the abyss between humans and the divine, but then what? Salvation assures there is life after death and life after sin, but there also has to be life after salvation! Our goal must include more than returning to and making peace with God. It has to be transformed by Him.” 

“When I focus too long on my inadequacies, I peter out quickly in my quest. When I focus instead on Christ, I find ‘the power of godliness’.”

“The Bible is not religion; it is a history of those who had religion. The religion of those who live within the covers of the Bible centered in living oracles and the ordinances of salvation. Theirs was a religion of prophets and apostles. That is the same religion we enjoy today.”

“My oldest son, Russell, would say, ‘We believe in the exact same Christ you do. We just know Him better.’ How could Russell make such a bold claim? Because we have additional scripture and the words of modern apostles and prophets who testify of Christ and help us come to know Him. It is one thing to believe in Jesus. It is another thing to know Him.”

“Too many LDS were zealously testifying of truth without actually knowing the gospel…Some LDS go through all the right motions without feeling any of the emotions. They settle for rule following instead of religion, for obedience and sacrifice instead of consecration, for testimony instead of conversion, and for cultural Mormonism instead of the soul-transforming fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. IT is time for a little zeal with our knowledge. It is time for a few alarm clocks to ring. ‘Awake and arise, come forth, and do not tarry.’ It’s time for wide-awake discipleship.”

“While serving his mission…my son David once wrote, ‘People need to realize that Christ’s Atonement is not just about giving us a fish, but teaching us to fish. It is not bout feeding us for a day, but rather feeding us for a lifetime–an eternal lifetime.’ If this were not true, then Christ’s suffering could be dismissed as nothing more than a kind but shortsighted act of a friend who is allowing us to turn in His homework with our names on it. Such a good deed might get us a passing grade in the moment, but it wouldn’t teach us anything in the long run.”

You NEED to read this book!
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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Thankful Heart

** I received a free copy of the book from Cedar Fort Publishing in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As I’ve recently mentioned, I am focusing on gratitude and being thankful to help bring myself closer to Christ. So I was very excited to be able to read this book.

A Thankful Heart is a wonderful month long devotional to help develop a heart more full of gratitude to become closer to Heavenly Father.
Via

This book is set up with 31 teachings or devotionals to focus on gratitude. It has a quote from a general authority in the LDS Church, a small parable or lesson, scripture references, and an ending thought. Christensen says that you can read these one of two ways–straight through, or take one teaching a day. That is what I’ve decided to do–one a day. Every day, when I wake up, I read two chapters of scriptures (right now I just finished 2 Kings), and then I’ll read one teaching from this book. So, to be honest, I’m not finished with it, but it has done wonders to help me begin each day with gratitude. I am also highlighting all the references in my scriptures as they have to do with gratitude. But, even in my personal scripture study, I’m noticing more and more verses of gratitude and thanksgiving. It truly is what Christ wants us to do. I’ve seen myself kneel and say morning prayers more often, and my evening prayers are more full of gratitude. It has really helped improve my mental and emotional health, as well as strengthen my testimony and faith in Christ and His Church. Whether you are Mormon or not, I strongly suggest this book to help in your study of gratitude and recognizing all of God’s blessings in your life!

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You can purchase the book here:
Find out more about the author here:
A Thankful Heart is a wonderful month long devotional to help develop a heart more full of gratitude to become closer to Heavenly Father.

What are you doing to be more grateful in your life and see His blessings?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.