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The following comes from Amanda Baugh. 

This week I was working with artist, Liz Lemon Swindle, and I was reminded once again of just how life changing art can be.  We were talking about the Savior and the true meaning of Christmas. With her permission, I share it with you.
 
“Several years ago, one of my children asked if I had any Christmas ornaments that I would loan them. I was hesitant because many of my ornaments were limited edition Christmas Fairies and would be impossible to replace if something happened. I battled with what to do, but in the end the Christmas Spirit won out and I ‘loaned’ the ornaments. Now I was faced with what to put on my own tree.
“I wandered the stores looking for something, but found nothing to replace my fairies. While I was out searching, I noticed some greeting cards that had pictures of the Savior on them and an idea came to me. I put those cards in little frames and placed them on my tree. I will never forget the disappointment I felt as I stood back and looked at that pathetic tree with its homemade ornaments.

TO SEE LIZ’S ORNAMENT COLLECTION, CLICK HERE
 
“Later that night, I walked into the living room and turned on the tree lights. Suddenly, all I could see were those pictures of Christ. All my sadness and worry was washed away. I enjoyed a peace and a joy that I had never felt during the holidays. The warmth and the love of the Savior enveloped me for what seemed like hours. As I looked at each image, I felt closer to Lord than ever before. I don’t remember how long I spent in front of that beautiful tree, I only know it was early morning when I turned off the lights and went to bed.
 “That Christmas changed everything for me. I came to realize that what we put on our tree really does matter. The tree is often the focal point of our celebration. We gather around the tree, we place presents under its boughs and we decorate it with care. Sadly, we often enjoyed the warm glow of the tree lights while forgetting the real ‘Light of the World.’
 
“I gave my fairies away and I didn’t look back. 
 
“The years have passed and I have scoured stores in search of ornaments that celebrate Christ. When I started the pickings were slim, but as I shared my story with others I began receiving ornaments from total strangers: wisemen from a minister in Indianapolis, crocheted angels from a neighbor, olive wood ornaments from a man in Jerusalem, and countless others. My collection is now vast and treasured.” 

I took Liz’s story to heart and began looking for ways to focus my Christmas on Christ. I got a set of ornaments and committed this year that for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas I would take out one ornament, read the story on the back, and place it on the tree. A daily reminder that Christmas is a celebration of Christ. 
 
My hope in sharing Liz’s story, is that we will each take a moment to slow down this Christmas season and let the miracle of the Savior’s love surround us. That we will begin a family tradition this year that puts Christ at the center of our Christmas and our lives. 
 
-AB
 

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