The Chaos Called Christmas

It’s that time of the year again in America. The remains of the Turkey have been packaged and stored in the refrigerator to await its various post-holiday reincarnations. The end of Thanksgiving signals the official beginning of the Christmas Season with the advent of Black Friday. In 1966 the Philadelphia Police Department coined the term to describe that dark and desperate day after Thanksgiving when stores reduce their prices, initiating the annual holiday purchasing frenzy that lasts until The Day memorializing the Three Magi delivering their precious gifts to a small child in Bethlehem. And then the feeding frenzy starts all over again as the recipients of these annual gifts return their merchandise for something they really want. Such is the chaos of Christmas that greeted us as we checked out the TV news and weather forecast for our holiday travel home from Grammy’s house this year.  

In addition to the television discussions on Black Friday, we were subjected to the seemingly life and death struggle for retail as commerce moved the holiday shopping season to Thanksgiving Day as they invaded this once-safe family haven. As reporters compared Internet vs. Big Box store sales and we mourned the loss of Thanksgiving, we found ourselves numbed by the over 500 listings for special Christmas shows that ran the gamut from affairs of the hearts, tornado disasters, and war deaths to the occasional song fest and re-enactment or more blatantly – reinterpretation of the Nativity. More often than not, many of productions portrayed people overcoming difficult times, and becoming nice and endearing; but almost none of them focused uon, and even avoided, mentioning Jesus Christ or the purpose of His mission to mortality that led to the celebration of Christmas.

What Does Christmas Mean To Me?

As I pondered the uproar and discord of what should be the most reverently-regarded time of man’s yearlong pursuits, I focused on the mission of Jesus Christ and what His coming to mortality means to me. I considered how it applied to my activities as a member of the Savior’s Eternal Family.

As a Latter-day Saint, we know that Jesus Christ came to Earth in the name of, and representing our Heavenly Father. He came to prove Himself as a faithful emissary of God, to take upon Himself the sins of all mankind, and become the Redeemer and Savior for all of Heavenly Father’s Children. In doing this He suffered incredible physical, mental, and spiritual pain, and eventually death to accomplish His Father’s purposes. We know His Living, His Atonement, His Dying, and His Resurrection provide the means for all men to return to God through faith, and grace, and obedience to His Commandments. Whenever I think of this great sacrifice, I realize that while He knew who I was in the vastness of Heaven, as a mortal being two millennia ago He was willing to take upon Himself the incomparable burden of the sins of mankind, including mine, to provide the opportunity and reality of repentance to me and all who have lived, live now or will every live, so we can someday return home to our Heavenly Parents who love us.

When I think on this, all I can do is to weep for joy and thankfulness that my Savior loves me so much, that He loves us all so much, and that we are all brothers and sisters in this great Family of Man. How can the World be so blind to such a blessing available for all? And I think, how can I be so blind to His sacrifice and not do something to honor His love, His legacy and His covenant?

1 Peter 4:6

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we know we have been given a solemn assignment to share the Gospel. God’s Plan of Happiness is to bring the fullness of the Mission of Jesus Christ to all mankind, not just for our family, our friends and our neighbors, but also for our ancestors, for all on the Family Tree of Man. In 1 Peter 4:6 we read, “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

We have been placed under covenant with our Lord and Master to seek out all of our forefathers and extended families, to share the message of the Gospel with them through service. And what this service? We are simply asked to identify our family, gather their records, and provide their names for temple ordinance work, wherein they can receive (by proxy) the baptisms, cleansings, and sealing ordinances that are the Gateway to our Heavenly Father. Our ancestors are dead, but we know their eternal spirits live on in a heavenly home and have been promised the opportunity to take upon themselves these ordinances that we perform for them here in mortality. They await that glorious day when they will stand before God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ to be judged like men in the flesh, according to their obedience and faith and the Grace of God as eligible for Eternal Glory.

My Christmas Gift of Genealogy

With this thought in mind, my Christmas gift and goal is to find the information about a Gleason ancestor and his family to provide them with their needed temple work. They lived from the 1820’s to the 1880’s. I have gathered records and documented details about their births, their marriages, and their deaths. I have learned about their occupations, their faith, their earthly sacrifices, and have come to love them through my prayers and faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. I am compiling their family data on family group records to submit them to our family LDS temples where these eternal ordinances can be completed. As my heart turns to my Father in Heaven in prayer, I also ask that my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be shared with these beloved family members. Someday, I know I will meet them when I return to the Spirit World after leaving this mortality. I hope to share my love and testimony with them then in person, and receive their love as well.

After all, Christmas isn’t about me or my wants or needs; it is about doing all that I can do to help bring my family back to the presence of our Heavenly Father, through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas is about putting Christ into my genealogy.

James W. Petty, AG, CG, is the Board-Certified and Accredited Professional Genealogist, “Climbing the Family Tree Professionally, Since 1969”. He is President of HEIRLINES Family History & Genealogy, Inc. (, the “Salt Lake City, Utah BBB Accredited Business” trusted professional genealogy research services firm, providing US and International genealogical and historical research for a world-wide clientele.

For Heirlines-Quality professional genealogy services, resources, and products including expert family tree research, LDS family history assistance, and answers to genealogy questions, please see Jim’s website <a href="https://www.”> and his blog Heirlines: We professionally identify and document ancestry and kinship relationships and verify and certify the family tree with Certified Family Trees and Certified Forensic Genealogy Solutions. We’re ready when you’re ready!