Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FHE Topic: Parallelisms with the Great Depression and Christmas Impacts

Wow, what a thrilling topic, eh? I'm sure that none of you would purposefully pontificate on the parallelisms of modern times with that of the Great Depression, especially for Family Home Evening (FHE). But the more I've reflected on our current economy, the impacts it is having, currently, on our family, and the forth coming frivolity of holiday shopping, I felt strongly it was time to discuss how history seems to be coming full circle.

As a FHE lesson should be spiritually uplifting, my content was taken from James E. Faust's Fall 2000 Conference address and Joseph B. Wirthlin's Fall 1999 Conference address, each touching briefly on their experiences as young men during the Great Depression. Some areas that observably are parallel include bank failures, making do with less, re-use of resources (i.e. hand me downs), increased work for little pay, buying oversized in order to last longer, war efforts, job loss and hunger. While not all of these have directly manifested themselves in our personal family (could be a matter of time), the signs exist in the world. What is inspiring about these Apostles' comments is the strength they both garnered from the trials of either poverty of surviving on less. It was the "less" aspect of the message that I focused in on for our family which led to a discussion of Christmas giving/receiving expectations.

Knowing that things will get worse before they get better, we've taken the approach of using less of what we previously allocated for Christmas and make the season memorable through gifts of service rather than commercialized giving. While this isn't a new concept and we've tried over the years to scale back on what we spend, the emphasis was for us to find alternate and meaningful ways of expressing the Christ love we feel rather than tritely spend to express the same emotion. Will the children still receive some gifts? Of course. Will they be exobitant? Nope, not even close.

The trick now is to find ways of serving each other, the community and our close friends. Through these acts of random kindness and target offerings of peace, each individual will hopefully extend their capacity to feel, express and cherish this holiday season. Having less will enable us to focus on what is of value, treasured, and sacred. Focusing on the gift of life, hope, peace and eternal life Christ offers to us through His supernal birth, death, resurrection and atonement is afterall the reason for our celebration. As we now hone our efforts and thoughts on this peaceable offering, it is with thanksgiving that I'm able to embrace my children and provide a meaningful Christmas season for them.

How will you spend your Christmas and what effects will the economy have on your plans?
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