Sunday, December 29, 2013


Now that we have explored some of the historicity of Christmas I want to put forth the case for those who feel no need to apologize for lights dangling from the eves of their houses in June or for Christmas decorations which still linger well after Boxing Day.

I feel no need to contend with those who have established a certain event or date when Christmas season is to officially begin. I believe all should have the privilege to celebrate how and when they wish. I have even heard it expressed in my own home that now that we have had the First Presidency Christmas Devotional from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Christmas season has begun. Another might decide to start with the clearing of the Thanksgiving Feast table. Some may appoint Black Friday as the beginning. I think I repeat myself.


Let me spend some time explaining why my Christmas celebration has MANY days.

When I was very young I don't remember individual days being counted. There was just a time of anticipation where days were spent looking through the wish books, (Sears and J. C. Pennys catalogues) sneaking into closets and attics and shaking and squeezing of packages in Christmas ruining routines. The days of anticipation slowly moved to the morning of actualization when with swiftness packaging was shredded revealing previously discovered treasures and an occasional Santa surprise. The agonizing days of anticipation which quickly dissolved in moments of ripping were all too often followed by a selfish feeling of ‘is that all there is to Christmas?’

As my childhood years morphed into what I then thought of as the wonderful teen years, the last few months of the year changed into a calendar full of parties which seemed to begin sometime around Halloween and didn't end until the New Year’s Dance decorations had been taken down. Christmas became just another time to gather with friends and family enjoying food and company until one was overstuffed with both.

During the time when I was on active duty as a reservist in the United States Army and the time I spent serving a mission for my church in Northern Mexico, was when my realization and conversion to the concept that Jesus born of Mary in Bethlehem was indeed Christ the Savior and my Many Days of Christmas begin to expand dramatically.

With parenthood I found that during the days of anticipation my role had changed. I once was the hunter I and had now become the hider, on Christmas day I was now the one hoping that there was at least one present for each child which would be a surprise and when the day was over I was left with a feeling of gratefulness for the blessings we had been given.

As the days have continued to morph, to where they now leapingly bound in increasing velocity I find that it would be rather pointless to limit the celebration of birth of the Redeemer of the world to one day.


I am grateful that where once the carols, songs and hymns of Christmas could only be heard when the radio stations decided to play them, or when the chorister in church decided to select them, I now live in a day where hundreds and thousands of interpretations of Christmas music can be stored on devices not much bigger than a piece of chocolate and with a flick of the wrist I can shuffle through songs and artists every day of the year if I wish.

I am grateful that although the days when weeks were spent putting up decorations throughout our house have been minimized and in some cases eliminated because of the ravages of aging, I can put the stored pictures of those days gone by as my screen saver and once again be brightened by the remembrances every day of the year if I so desire.

I am grateful that the bounteous blessings of a loving Father in Heaven have so filled our home and our lives that it takes but a quick glance in any direction to discover and sometimes be surprised at the stuff which surrounds me and which has brought such great joy into my life. I can do this glancing every hour of every day if I wish.

I am grateful that the choices I have made in life and the blessings which have been poured down upon me have made it so that every day I can celebrate the birth, the life and the words of Jesus the Christ and learn to generously share the Lord’s abundance to others in need until that wondrous day we have ‘all things in common among us.’

There, now you have it, The Many Days of Christmas are now extended to the maximum of 365 days of every year.

And for those who feel that my fixation about Christmas robs from other holidays:

I find New Year’s Day to have greater reason to begin again because He was born on Christmas Day.

I find Valentine’s Day to be filled with greater love because He was born on Christmas Day.

I find Easter and the resurrection to have meaning because He was born on Christmas Day.

I find Patriotic and Memorial days to be more touching because He was born on Christmas day.

I find myself filled with more gratefulness on Thanksgiving because He was born on Christmas day.


  1. Esperamos que su casa sea llena de gozo durante este maravilloso tiempo de Navidad!!

    Roberto Guzman

  2. We pray your home will be filled with the warmth and happiness of this wonderful Christmas season!!

    Kristy Tate

  3. Thanks Bill and Kathy, I enjoyed that. Be seeing you soon.


    Sandie Johnson

  4. Love this one, and love you! xoxo

    Christine Riley

  5. Thanks Br. Riley. You remain one of my favorite all time humans! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day.



  6. Qué lindo mensaje Presidente, muchas gracias =) y espero que haya tenido una muy FELIZ NAVIDAD.

    Lo quiero muchoooooo

    Diana Granada

  7. Dear Brother Riley, Thanks a year's fill for the beautiful message. Definitely, it will help me (and I'm sure many others as well) keep the spirit of Christmas throughout the coming year.

    May love, health, and joy be abundantly yours and your loved ones in 2014.

    Con amor,

    Bonnie Lynn

  8. So beautifully stated and shared. Wishing you and Kathleen a most joyous, healthy New Year,

    Jean Seavey

  9. Wonderful THOUGHTS to wind up the year. Thanks for sharing your gifts, Rileys.

    God bless you!

    Sharon Cocanour