We have been asked what happens around Nauvoo during the Christmas season. Well, I'm here to tell you that the number of events this month leading up to and including Christmas have kept us going nonstop!
On Thursday of the first week of December, we joined the missionaries in Carthage to participate in the annual Caroling festival. We, along with a few other caroling groups, walked around town singing at various stores, the courthouse, and even the museum. At the end of the evening, we gathered at one of the missionaries' home for donuts and hot chocolate.
While at the museum, we were attracted to their model train exhibit.
On Friday of that week, we presented the Christmas Walk, which began with a brief program in the Visitors' Center . . .
. . . and the lighting of the Christmas tree. We then shuttled guests down to visit some of the sites in Old Nauvoo in three of our wagons that were all festively decorated.
On Saturday night, many of our missionaries joined with others of the community to perform the Messiah in the St. Paul and St. Peter's Catholic Church. (This picture was taken before the choir and orchestra entered.)
On the 19th and 20th many of our missionaries and volunteers from Nauvoo and other cities as far away as Quincy, Illinois, performed the "Miracle of Christmas" concert, which consisted of a 60-person adult choir, a chamber orquestra, a bell choir, and a childrens choir. It was a major effort and very well done. About 700-800 guests came to see the concert each night. It was a wonderful missionary activity.
Today is Christmas Day, the only day that the sites are closed all year; so, Jan and I had a relaxing morning. We got up, showered, opened the presents we had under our Christmas tree, and telephoned some of our children.
We then had a wonderful Christmas dinner with the rest of the missionaries in our mission, plus the missionaries in the Temple Mission.
After the dinner, we enjoyed a program in which some of the missionaries who had served previously in a foreign mission explained how Christmas is celebrated in the countries where they served. At the conclusion of the program, the live nativity that was presented during the Christmas Walk a couple of weeks ago was performed for those of us who had other assignments that night and weren't able to see it. It reminded me a lot of the nativity programs that our children and grandchildren do each year, though maybe a bit more professionally done!!
First came Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus.
Angels from on high announced the birth of the Savior.
And wise men presented their gifts to the Christ Child.
And, so, another Christmas has come and gone. It is a great privilege to be remembering and representing Him as a missionary this year. We feel especially blessed to be serving here with so many wonderful missionaries and friends. We hope everyone has felt the Spirit of the Savior in their lives this Christmas as we have experienced it here in Nauvoo.