My very first memory of Christmas has little to do with Christ: it is that of unwrapping a large present, a wind-up robot that walked, shot sparks out its ears and which had a rolling image of a space landscape in its chest. In short, it was an awesome toy. I can remember the living room, the rug, the iron grates over the air vents in the floor, the tree, but no Jesus.
My second memory of Christmas, a couple of years later, is only marginally better: I remember a Christmas scene, with little plastic figurines. But the figurine I remember most was not little Baby Jesus, lyin’ there in his ghost manger, just lookin’ at Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin’ ’bout shapes and colors — no, it was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I was, at age 5, a big fan of the Rankin/Bass Rudolph special (indeed, of the entire Rankin/Bass repertoire, especially the otherwise wretched The Year Without a Santa Claus, if only because of the Miser Brothers). So I cuddled that little Rudolph figurine, sang it sweet Christmas songs and played games with it — for after all, all of the other reindeer laughed and called Rudolph names, and wouldn’t play with him. But no Jesus.As I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely become more familiar with our Christmas narratives and with the LDS depictions of Christ, His birth and death. But I don’t know that my mental image of Jesus is much better now than it was when I was a child. I can conjure up in my mind those contextual images — the chilly night of His Birth, or the scorching desert of his fasting, for example — but I find it harder to find Jesus as a person, as someone to talk to. Personally, it’s easier for me to reach out and know Heavenly Father, whose name I do not know , than Jesus, whose name is the one by which we are to be saved. Similarly, I feel more affinity for the notions of salvation — chains of family running through eternity, salvific power coursing through generations — than for the cipher that is Christ as a person. It is as if, at first blush, I understand the trappings of Christmas, but not the reason for the season.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like to think I understand the workings of the Atonement as well as the next fellow. I know what it’s like to pray, and repent, and to feel forgiven. But when people say “let Jesus change your heart” or “keep the memory of Jesus with you”, I get the impression they are talking about some internal workings that I have not experienced, or perhaps that their descriptions are not what’s really going on. I do not turn my heart over to Jesus for change the way I turn my watch over to the jeweler to replace the batteries.
So what am I missing here?
 Yes, I know Heavenly Father has a name. But I don’t know if that is really His name, and I don’t think we vest it with the sort of tetragrammatonic power that perhaps His real name would possess. And we’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses.