Non-Christmas Programs in Sacrament Meeting Today

I’m a big fan of Christmas, so I was looking forward to the Christmas program at Church this morning.  While the choir sang two Christmas numbers and two of our congregational hymns were also from the Christmas section of the hymnal, the talks had nothing to do with Christmas.  We have five missionaries serving in our ward (three sisters and two elders), and each of them spoke.  I’m not sure what the theme was supposed to be, or if there even was one; I guess it was on missionary work.  I couldn’t believe it; we had visitors in the congregation who doubtless had come expecting a Christmas service, but no such service was presented; I imagine them scratching their heads as they left the building.

I assumed this was just some sort of weird fluke of scheduling in our ward and put it out of my mind.  But I just read a comment on Facebook where a sister reports that their ward’s sacrament meeting theme was on tithing.  That reminds me of the year, about a decade ago, when my ward devoted the Easter Sunday talks to tithing.  Now, Easter moves around on the calendar, and in that case I’m pretty sure it was just a matter of someone being a little too efficient in long-term planning of sacrament themes without bothering to consult an actual calendar.  But I can’t fathom that someone would not be aware that this is the Sunday immediately preceding Christmas, so no such lunar calendar explanation would fly.  Can you imagine if you brought your neighbors to our Christmas service, only for them to have to sit through an hour of sermons on the concept of tithing?  That is unthinkable to me.

So now I’m curious.  Are we outliers, or were there other wards out there where for whatever reason they whiffed on providing an actual Christmas program and instead devoted the service to some other topic?  Return and report!


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    My wife told me I could post her comment as follows: WTF?

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    I semi-made up for it in GD class, where we did one of those musical testimony things, only focused on Christmas carols. People could name a favorite carol, then we’d learn some of the history of that carol (using William Studwell’s the The Christmas Carol Reader), and then sing a verse of it. (I also brought treats.) So my class was plenty Christmassy. Of course, non-LDS visitors would be unlikely to find themselves in GD class, so my lesson didn’t really remedy the problem.

  3. We had a lovely Christmas program in our NorCal ward.

  4. Olde Skool says:

    Whiffed. Missionary homecoming, with desultory acknowledgement that Christmas is this week. Plus one Christmas song by the choir.

  5. Christmas focused – a narrator talking about Christmas and reading passages from the Bible and lots of Christmas music. Very touching, worshipful service.

  6. Our ward did a nice little Christmas narrative interspersed with choir and congregational singing. I think it comes down to a thoughtful bishop, doesn’t it?

  7. Ward choir & string octet & primary children. Christmas theme FTW!

  8. Our sacrament meeting was entirely special music that all had to do with Christmas interspersed with readings of quotes and scriptures about the meaning of Christmas. It was well done.

    Of course, my primary lesson was on the Christmas story, but the youth lesson was on “signs of the times.” I am not judging the wonderful teachers, I am sure that was on their schedule. I noticed some families left after sacrament meeting. I am considering it for next year if I am not teaching (similar to what happens if Christmas falls on a Sunday)–the spirit was wonderful in sacrament meeting and Christ centered on this Sunday before Christmas, but then why lose it?

    I know we Mormons do not do ritual, but I think the pendulum has swung too far and we need to go ahead and on focus on Easter and Christmas–yes, to the exclusion of other gospel topics, on the appropriate Sundays.

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

  9. Christmas program, during which I gave the homily posted earlier, with additional music and readings, and then we dismissed everyone from the rest of meetings. It was a nice Sabbath.

  10. Our sacrament meeting theme (in a YSA ward) this past Easter was dating and relationships. Apparently the sweet and simple message of the atonement was not enough to celebrate that holiday.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    But Duffy, in a YSA ward isn’t dating and relationships the theme EVERY Sunday? (grin)

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Russell, your homily was excellent.

  13. yeah…that is probably clueless planning…speak up

  14. Canceled because of ice.

    But a Christmas program was planned, with music and scripture readings.

    But I have been in wards, well, lets just say I’ve been in several wards over the years and seen lots of diversity.

  15. Antonio Parr says:

    My Sacrament meeting was a gorgeous, music-filled celebration of the birth of our Lord.

    Respectfully, I would reach out to your Stake President if I were you to let him know what a catastrophic blow it is to the missionary program to profess with our lips that we are the uniquely true church of Christ and yet be the only church in town not speaking of Him and rejoicing in Him on Christmas Sunday.

  16. We had a beautiful christmas program, mostly musical numbers with some narration. My RS lesson was a conference talk but I turned it into a christmas lesson. But my daughter said her ward just had a normal sac meeting. She was very disappointed.

  17. Some fine music in our ward today, an excellent Christmas themed talk, some fascinating autobiographical remarks from our new bishop, who has lived a very colorful life. All around, it was inspiring.

  18. Our Christmas program was last Sunday because the majority of people in our ward go “home” for Christmas. Talks in SM were about the Atonement, which at least was about Christ, but I would’ve liked actual Christmas talks.

  19. Our official Christmas program (choir, Primary, talk) was last week, but the music and talks this week continued the theme. My guess is that next week will be a continuation of the theme.

  20. We had a lovely Christmas program in our ward. I do remember an Easter a few years back when the theme was Joseph Smith – it was quite widespread so it must have been a particular anniversary of his birth or death that caused it. Little wonder some visitors wonder if we’re “really” christians.

  21. I’m embarrassed to bring anyone to our Christmas worship service. If you want me to do missionary work and invite friends to the service it needs to be worthy of their time and my invite to them. One musical number by the meager choir and regular speakers does NOT make a Christmas program. It’s like our last Easter Sunday where the topic was the Savior and neither speaker talked about Christ. Embarrassing.

  22. Beautiful Christmas program, filled with inspiring Christ-centered narrative and music. Followed by Bishop’s choked up, teary remarks about Joseph Smith and quoting of Praise to the Man (???). Stake President on the stand, texting through music and sacrament. So mostly, win! PH leadership: fail.

  23. We had a lovely choir Christmas program. But I was teaching RS today and it hit me (and rankled just a bit) that I was teaching the “regular” lesson (which was Prez Uchtdorf’s conference talk, a great talk, but not Christmas.). So when they asked me which hymns I wanted,I chose 2 Christmas hymns.

    I will admit, I find myself scoping out other churches Christmas services (where they actually do them on Christmas). Tempted to head to midnight mass at one of the nearby California missions.

  24. And Antonio Parr, thank you, I have said the exact same thing. Sad too– I would think most church members crave more observances. Is this a throwback to our fear of “looking like” other churches? I’m all for the entire Lenten/Easter thing, for example, just thinks it feels so much more “participatory” in worship.

  25. Great Christmas program in our ward, mostly musical (choir, congregational, solos, and strings) with a few spoken parts. Our bishop even played the guitar and led some of the youth in a song. Overall, excellent.

  26. We got to do a Cantata (words and music) telling the Christmas story and the Choir (which I am proud to conduct) got to sing some less-known-by-LDS Christmas songs – Good Christians Now Rejoice; O Come Emmanuel; Lo How a Rose. Very nice talks by the Bishop and one other, both on Christmas. I gave the Bishopric a choice of either the Cantata or three songs for the Choir about 5 months ago. Was glad they went for the less-used road. :)

  27. I was miffed when I picked up the Ensign to read the Christmas message and found out that it wasn’t about Christmas at all–at least not in any genuine sense. It was a plea for missionary referrals. They lost me when they said that [paraphrasing] “It’s a compliment to you when missionaries trust you enough to ask for a referral.” Right.

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    Bonjo, that’s one way to get a sacrament meeting guitar performance past the bishop–BE the bishop!

  29. “we need to go ahead and on focus on Easter and Christmas–yes, to the exclusion of other gospel topics”

    So dismaying that this sentence is necessary–Christmas and Easter are THE gospel topics! Sigh.

    Our ward did a nice Christmas program, thank goodness.

  30. We had a special musical number and all three talks were Christmas-themed. That said, our Christmas program was last week because, like a previous commenter, a lot of families go “home” or travel the Sunday before Christmas. Today the speakers were our stake patriarch, who is in our ward, his wife, and a member of our bishopric.

  31. Best Christmas progr I have been to in many years. It was our first Sunday in our new ward in Alaska. It the beginning, the bishop explained that one of the main ways we worship is through music, the sacrament where we remember the Atonement in our lives, and when we pray alone and together. He apologized for intruding on our worship with a few announcement, (don’t forget we move times in January, no mutual the next two weeks, class service projects for YM and YW had already been assigned and coordinated, but youth, call your quorum leader or class president if you aren’t sure, all youth are invited to go with other classes for their service opportunities, thanked everyone for helping him get tithing settlement finished last Sunday so that he and the bishopric could visit inactive members that morning, and his gratitude to the two families they visited who joined the services today, and a reminder that if the temp is -30 or below, services are automatically cancelled) which took less than 10 minutes, and I must say, the announcements were more meaningful to the Christmas holiday than any I can ever remember.

    The sacrament was especially moving for me today. I felt like the bishop set the tone for us to all consider that it is a way we worship Christ, and I had several specific promptings/ revelations come to me, and had tears running down my face, after I had been praying about a specific concern, and the smile on the deacons face, who lightly touched my arm, and offered me the bread, brought a peace that was overwhelming in its simplicity.

    After the sacrament the Young Men, their leaders and the bishopric sang, then the ward music leader talked for a couple of minutes about how important it is for us to remember that Christ was human, and that in His birth, and throughout His life, people made great sacrifices, so that He could make the ultimate sacrifice for us. He reminded us that we have similar roles to play, and that exploring those who were around at His birth, could give us perspective in how to serve Him now.

    Songs about Mary, two of them, from her perspective, and the struggle and beauty of the birth, (Nat at fMh would have loved it I think) a short talk about Joseph, and the importance of him as the earthly father of Christ, a reminder that stepfather a, blended families, etc., are just as important now as in Christ’s time, and a song from Joseph’s perspective. Songs about the shepherds, and the a few words about the importance of being ready to drop everything when we are called to serve, mourn, or celebrate, with our fellow saints. Short discussion about Joy, and our need to share our sorrows and our joys with each other and the world. Not referring to missionary sharing, (yeah!) just referring to sharing love with all around us, and sharing our joy, and being joyful with one another.

    Ended talking about gifts, and peace being the greatest gift. Wise men brought precious gifts, and in turn they received the peace and joy of knowing the Savior had entered the world. We are asked to give our hearts and love, and in return, find peace even as we struggle.

    At the end, we dispensed with the closing hymn for the sake of time. (We had already sung Joy to the World, so I don’t think anyone minded.) we had a beautiful closing prayer, and a last minute reminder about the 30 below means no church, and that the primary children needed at least one parent to “pick them up,” if they were you get than 9, since they had some “things” to bring home.

    A wonderful, Christmas Sunday program. (I learned as we were leaving, that a large part of those in attendance were catching a 5:00 pm commercial flight, or 7:00 pm military transport flight, so that the ward leadership and choir would be here. Most will be coming back in on planes that arrive Sunday morning, so that they will be at church next week, although the bishop is staying with family until after New Year ‘s Day.)

    I was amazed at the commitment to stay, given the increase in cost for many families. The ward music director was very matter of fact, saying they wouldn’t have had a choir if those 10 families hadn’t made that commitment, back in October. I really think I’m going to love this ward!

  32. We had a fantastic choir presentation for most of our meeting. The visiting new SP counselor had high praise for all involved. He said we need to get this spread to more wards. With such a Christmas focus in sacrament meeting, the other lessons which only marginally tied to Christmas were fine.
    I was once asked to substitue in Sunday School on Easter. I scrapped the manual lesson and talked about the atonement. There were no adverse comments at all. I have also heard of ward choirs getting such a negative review that they may not be asked to present much on Christmas. I am sure that appropriate talks would be just fine in that situation.

  33. We had two Christmas-themed Fridays. The first was talks/songs about Christmas, and then the ward Christmas party after church. Then this most recent Friday, we had the sacrament, a musical number…and then we all watched the Christmas Devotional in lieu of further talks + Primary/SS/RS/etc. Bliss. I love my ward.

  34. Kevin Barney says:

    I want to thank those who have been able to report thoughtful, Christmas-themed services. There is hope, after all!

  35. I’m so glad to hear of these great stories of wards making an effort to host a seasoned themed sacrament meeting.

  36. Norman Wright says:

    We, too, had a lovely Christmas program of beautiful music interspersed with narrative and scripture.

  37. abby christiansen says:

    I attend church via Skype as part of the Central China International District. For the sacrament program they asked us all in advance to sign up to read various verses of scripture about the birth of Christ and alternated scripture readings with Christmas songs that ward members had volunteered to sing. Despite the various tech and sound issues it went wonderfully. We even had a beautiful rendition of “What Child is This?” accompanied by the ukulele in our apartment.The meeting was so peaceful and brought the Christmas spirit to so many of us who are celebrating Christmas in a place where it is not celebrated. Our branch has done such a wonderful job in helping us to have Christ in our lives this Christmas. Skype church really is wonderful. Because of limitations we keep everything simple and to the point and everything is focused on Christ. Plus there is only two hours of church which is always nice :)

  38. I wasn’t able to attend ours, but I know they did a lot of preparation for a Christmas program, as they did last year when I did attend. I was surprised last week when a sister missionary and another sister from the ward showed up at my door with a simple and classy printed invitation for the program, and said they hoped I would be there!

  39. Maryland Musician says:

    Since I am the ward music chairman, I made sure that we had a wonderful Christmas program yesterday — new converts of the year read Christmas scriptures, and each scripture block was followed by a ward choir Christmas piece (4) or a solo/duet (3) or a YW chorus piece (1) plus 4 Christmas hymns. The bishop gave a short closing talk. It was WONDERFUL!!! But I started planning it in August and got almost no help in getting the new converts to come to back to church and read. (Some didn’t show up at all.) Our ward has always done Christmas well — it’s Easter that gets some serious hits. We have had both temple and tithing themes in past years, plus once it was changed to another Sunday (!!) to accommodate stake schedules. I always hope that we have zero guests for Easter.

  40. Christian J says:

    Kevin, we had a big musical “Night of Carols” on the night of the 15th. Trying to make it into a community event, where even non-Mormons participate. Also, when its not a sacrament meeting, the musical arrangements can be a lot more diverse.

    Yesterday we sang about 5 Christmas hymns as a congregation with some short Christmas testimonies. It was nice.

    BTW, Our Easter services are always a big deal and rival some Christmas sacrament meetings I’ve been to as far as magnitude.

  41. I attended a small branch in Virginia that nearly doubled in size with my family. 3 Christmas hymns sung by the priesthood, relief society, and my family, along with the whole congregation singing Christmas hymns for opening and closing hymns. 4 short Christmas themed talks. Only one block. Best Christmas church meeting ever.

  42. Ice cancelled my ward’s meetings too. The yearly exhibition of underprepared choral music and recited passages from Luke has been rescheduled for next week. Normally, the bishop closes the program with a short talk. Perhaps the delay will give him a chance to reflect on this year’s Christmas as he addresses the congregation.

  43. Hi Kevin: I’m sorry you were disappointed. I know that when we expect things we are often disappointed. Sometimes it helps to just be in the moment. Appreciate what IS and not what you WANT. The blessing is that you were at Church among members.

  44. Last Easter, our ward almost had an Easter service. One Easter hymn (only), one irrelevant talk, and then the Bishop tried talking about grace, a concept he hadn’t quite wrapped his head around. He admittedly fumbled the “balance” of grace and works, and then struggled to define and testify of grace. He ended up just about saying that he didn’t really have a testimony of all the complicated atonement stuff which he didn’t understand, but he saw God in little “tender mercies” each day, and was blessed to be the bishop and help people. Swing and a miss.


  45. Definitely a Christmas service here in Florida yesterday. Solo, choir, primary, readings from the Christmas related scriptures, and so forth. Was it high holy mass? Not even close, but it was on the right theme at least. And there were lots of visitors.

  46. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    I’ll bet it’s a nightmare trying to get folks to prepare meaningful talks around this time of year, either a few days before or after Christmas. I’m sure it’s done well plenty of places, but there’s probably 50-60K adult sacrament meeting talks prepared each Sunday worldwide, and a lot of those probably got a minimal amount of notice and/or prep time this month.

    Could just be that missionaries are easier to book, and you figure with five of them, you’ll get something special.

  47. Kevin, I am with you, both in sentiment and experience (Phoenix metro area). The two youth speakers talked about Christmas, the two adults did not–and their topics were assigned! While good men, I have always thought our current bishopric are clueless about details that involve planning. They don’t think ahead and inspiration is, evidently, not forthcoming.

  48. Oregon Mum says:

    Our Christmas service started with our YW playing the bells to accompany the opening hymn, a Christmas message by a bishopric member, then songs by the ward choir, RS/YW choir, flute trio, YW bell song, Sr Primary children singing with a member who is an accomplished singer, then a musical family sang a song. In primary, the children acted out Nativity scenes and parents were invited to come watch.

    I’ve never been in a ward that didn’t have a Christmas-focused program the week of Christmas.

  49. Christian J says:

    Kevin, what’s bizarre about your story (and others), is that correlation does such a good job of enacting Mormon-ey sameness the world over – when it comes to so many other portions of our weekly services. And yet, these are the times when a unified curriculum is most needed. Or maybe the COB just assumes that, “of course, they know to make Christmas and Easter huge at the local level right?”

  50. We had a violin solo of Silent Night, a Christmas song by the Primary, a Christmas song by the Ward Choir (a lovely medley of The First Noel/Jesus Once of Humble Birth), a wonderful solo soprano arrangement of Away in the Manger and one Christmas talk. All in all a great Sacrament Meeting. GD was kind of a summary of the past year’s D&C lessons, but also touched on the “reason for the season.” RS was a Conference talk on the Atonement, but did not leave out Christmas.

  51. Our ward had three numbers by the choir, and two excellent talks. One of the carols was new to me:

    Some children see him
    Lily white
    The baby Jesus
    Born this night
    Some children see him
    Lily white
    With tresses soft
    And fair

    Some children see him
    Bronzed and brown
    The Lord of heav’n
    To Earth come down
    Some children see him
    Bronzed and brown
    With dark
    And heavy hair

    Some children see him
    This savior whom
    We kneel beside
    Some children see him
    With skin
    Of yellow hue

    Some children see him
    Dark as they
    Sweet mary’s son
    To whom we pray
    Some children see him
    Dark as they
    And, ah
    They love him, too

    The children
    In each diff’rent place
    Will see
    The baby Jesus’ face
    Like theirs
    But bright
    With heav’nly grace
    And filled
    With holy light

    O lay aside
    Each earthly thing
    And with thy heart
    As offering
    Come worship now
    The infant king
    ‘Tis love
    That’s born tonight

  52. In our ward we had two excellent Christmas sermons (one ranged from Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch that Stole Christmas all the way to the manger in Bethlehem and managed to do it without sounding overly sentimental, or pastiche, or cliche, which I am still baffled about). Also some music from the Primary and a beautiful song by one of the finest singers in the ward. I’m baffled that any ward would miss out on a Christmas-centric service.

  53. gc.

    I love that song. It was on one of my childhood Christmas records. I wondered if people still sing it. I am so glad they do.

  54. Ours was entirely devoted to Cmas. First adult speaker spoke on Mary exclusively, and second adult speaker spoke about Joseph exclusively. It was awesome.

    I especially liked when the speaker on Mary specifically made the point that Mary is not an example just for women, but for men as well, as she does not embodied female characteristics but Christ’s characteristics.

  55. I have it on good authority that in at least one ward, there’s an Excel file out there with a list of good Sacrament meeting topics for the year. There will be a little shuffling around, but not much, and the list gets copied from one year to the next. That’s how you get topics like Joseph Smith for Easter Sunday – because somebody three to seven years ago thought that would be a good basic topic for the 2nd Sunday in April (or whatever).

    So, when our Bishopric did the same thing this year, one of the idiots there spoke up and suggested that we at least check to see when Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Pioneer Day, Thankgiving, and Christmas fall, and tweak those topics accordingly.

    Our ward – lots of Christmas music, with short (5 minute) talks by a member of the Temple Presidency and his wife, focused exclusively on how we can put more emphasis in our families on Christ for the season.

  56. Two Christmas services in a row in our SoCal ward: the standard short talks interspersed with choral/congregational singing and kids playing instruments last week, and this week a bunch of ward members each asked to speak briefly about a favorite Christmas song which we then all sang together, winding up with a Christmas message from the bishop. We must be the true ward, no? Last year, though, I visited a ward in which they’d designated Easter as Fast Sunday. Aargh.

  57. wonderful Christmas program here, although marred a bit by the fact that my teen daughters’ YW lesson was on how Santa is like Jesus…

  58. Our Bishop gave a nice talk about Christmas and then the choir took the balance of the program with some congregational singing interspersed. A nice program overall.

  59. We had a nice Christmas program in our ward in SoCal. Loved the choir. Nothing symbolizes the relationship between the church, the gospel, and the individual like a ward choir singing their worship. I love our ward.

  60. Half of my ward consists of student families and a number of them (including the choir director) were leaving for the holidays, so our Christmas program was held two Sundays ago. It was all musical, without any talks or narration. The topic of this week’s Sacrament Meeting was missionary work and the speakers made no mention of Christmas. There were two Christmas musical numbers and we sang Christmas hymns, but I’m sure that some of the newer members thought it was a little odd that in the past month we never had a single talk about Christmas. Is there some rule that you can’t have two Christmas themed meetings in a year? We had no ward Christmas party either. Anyway, my husband’s dragging me to Midnight Mass tomorrow.

  61. Nice Christmas program here, but it is the exception not the rule in my stake. My first Stake Conference in this ward was on Easter Sunday- the topic was temples. There was one mention of Christ by name. We didn’t even sing any Easter hymns. :(

  62. I just wanted to report that not only did we have a Christmas program the Sunday before Christmas, but we had one yesterday, too. The theme of the speakers was “Joy to the World.” The first speaker talked about Mary’s joy when the angel told her she would bear the Son of God, and the joy of the shepherd’s when the angel told them of the birth of the baby in Bethlehem. He also told a little about the author of the hymn. The other speakers talked about various aspects of the joy that comes to all of us through the life and light of Christ. We also sang “Joy to the World.” In GD, the teacher said since we had no lesson, he could do what he wanted and he wanted to talk about Christmas, so we did. He said Christmas was a celebration of the birth AND LIFE of Christ. And in RS the last lesson in the Lorenzo Snow manual was on Christ, so we actually had two Sundays of Christmas in our Ward.

  63. Kevin, I don’t know what happened in your Ward because it certainly wasn’t a Stake level thing. In the 2 Wards and Branch that meet in our building all of them were Christmas themed. You might bring it up to your Bishopric – since I know all three of them relatively well – and ask them to consider ensuring Sacrament meeting is Christmas focused for December 21st next year. We just finished planning our meeting themes for next year and we have a spreadsheet that identifies any key holidays or dates (Easter, Christmas, Joseph & Hyrum’s martyrdom for instance) and tried to align themes for Sacrament meeting where it made sense. I know some Bishoprics are not quite as organized around what topics to cover for Sacrament meeting but I can say this approach has worked well for us.

  64. BTW, we change up our topics each year so this is not just a shuffled sheet of topics, it’s just the format of the spreadsheet that offers a structure.

    Our Christmas theme was heavily focused on music. We do the same for Easter The opening and closing hymn were With Wondering Awe and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

    Following the sacrament we had three songs by the Primary children: Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plain, Stars Were Gleaming, and Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus.

    A short talk about Christ by a Sister

    A men’s chorus singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

    A male solo, tenor, singing O Holy Night he pulled off very well.

    The Ward Choir singing a very lovely arrangement of Silent Night

    The Bishop with a short message on service at Christmas time and keeping our hearts focused on the Savior throughout the year.

  65. Originally I posted that I attended a fantastic ward Christmas Sacrament Meeting. I still stand by it. I did and it was wonderful. It wasn’t my home ward. It was the ward that meets before us. This past Sunday while talking in the hall I learned my home ward didn’t have a Christmas program. The choir did sing two songs but that was it. The rest was a baby blessing and 3 baptism confirmations, 3 speakers.

    Driving home this past Sunday I began to contemplate writing a letter to someone and ask why
    Christmas programs and a full month of December – Christ focus couldn’t happen church wide. There seem to be enough wards that just make it a regular Sunday that I think it warrants a letter. I just don’t know who to send it to.

  66. Bruce Rogers says:

    A few years ago, when I served as the Ward Music Chair, we had a lady who had the training to play the guitar. I scheduled us to sing “Silent Night”. Before the organist began, I went to the podium and briefly told the story of that hymn was first played on the guitar, by the composer (as I recall), because the organ had malfunctioned and could not be repaired in time. We sang the first verse accompanied by the guitar. The subsequent verses were accompanied by the organist. A number of people afterward expressed positive comments about it.
    Fortunately, in our ward this past Sunday, both the music and the talks were Christmas related.

  67. We had an interdenominational bell choir and congregational singing with a few speakers who were to briefly talk about what christmas means to them.,,,it translated into a half hour over time program, which left us scrambling…primary was all Christmassy as well.

  68. In 2006 (on Christmas Eve), our bishop and his wife spoke on food storage and pioneers, respectively. And we somehowansged to not sing any Christmas hymns, either. Which is why, now that I’m ward choir director, I’m VERY proactive in making sure Christmas is taken care of. This year they even had me speak, in addition to conducting three songs and having the primary sing 2 more.

  69. One thing to remember is sometimes the speakers get assigned to speak on Christmas or Christ themes and the bishopric member who assigned them then sits on the stand in mild shock when the speaker does not even mention the assigned topic once. It has happened to my husband enough times it no longer shocks him. So sometimes it is planned to be appropriate for the holiday but just doesn’t happen anyways

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