Christmas Memory: Focused on the Savior

  By Carole M. Stephens, first counselor, Relief Society general presidency

  • 28 December 2012

Sister Carole M. Stephens keeps a Nativity arranged by her granddaughter—with the Savior in the middle and other pieces circled around Him—in her office.  Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Article Highlights

  • Sister Carole M. Stephens learned a valuable lesson when she invited her grandchildren to help her decorate for Christmas.
  • Her granddaughter Mailee arranged the figures of the Nativity with the manger in the middle and the other pieces forming a circle around and facing the manger.
  • Sister Stephens doesn’t move one piece, and even keeps the Nativity in her office as a reminder to always focus on the Savior.

“The people—Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, and shepherd—formed a perfect circle around the animals. All were facing the center, focused on the Savior. I didn’t move one piece. I wept as I looked at the Nativity and realized the important lesson I learned from my little granddaughter.”  —Carole M. Stephens, first counselor, Relief Society general presidency

I have learned most of life’s most important lessons from my children and continue to learn from my grandchildren.

I was taught one such lesson during a Christmas season several years ago.

Our youngest son was serving a mission, leaving my husband and me empty nesters. Our oldest son and his family were visiting from Arizona, so I enlisted our grandchildren to help decorate our home for Christmas.

We started with the Christmas tree. The children were doing a wonderful job, and I could soon see that my help wasn’t needed. Four feet up all the way around, the tree looked wonderful!

I busied myself with other decorating and began by setting out a small Nativity. I arranged it in the usual way, with the manger in the center. I put Mary, Joseph, and the donkey behind the manger. Three Wise Men and the camel were on one side, and the shepherd and sheep were on the other side.

I finished with the Nativity, and I was putting out other decorations when I noticed our granddaughter Mailee moving the pieces of the Nativity. My first thought was, “I’ll fix it when she leaves.” Later that evening when their family left to visit other grandparents I remembered the Nativity and went into the family room to “fix it.” When I looked down, I realized I didn’t need to fix anything.  Mailee had arranged it perfectly.

She left the manger in the middle but had placed the animals in a circle around the manger. They were tucked in tight, peeking into the manger as if they were curious. The people—Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, and shepherd—formed a perfect circle around the animals. All were facing the center, focused on the Savior.

I didn’t move one piece. I wept as I looked at the Nativity and realized the important lesson I learned from my little granddaughter.

For several years I left the Nativity up year-round in our home, just the way Mailee taught me.

I now have the Nativity in my Relief Society office on the corner of my desk. I look at it often. It reminds me where my focus needs to be in all I do—on the Savior.