I've loved celebrating a typical Swedish Christmas here in Södertälje. The members were welcoming and kind to us missionaries. Although there has not been snow on the ground we've still been able to keep the Holiday spirit.
Last Tuesday we were asked to come contacting with the new missionaries who came in to the mission. It brought me back to a year ago when I first arrived in Sweden. I remember how much I looked up to those missionaries I went contacting with my first day in Sweden. It made me excited to think that I had the opportunity to be one of those older experienced elders.
Last week we also had the Christmas Conference. All of the missionaries in the northern half of Sweden were there. The conference was centered on the Book of Mormon and its importance in our work. How our job is to present information in a clear way and challenge people to act. We need to leave converting up to the Book. The day after the conference I was able to return to Eskilstuna for splits. I got to see quite a few of the members there which was very cool. While waiting for the bus I had a feeling to talk to a man, he had already seen us and looked away. I thought that I shouldn't as he had already looked away but then thought to myself "Do I really want to remember myself as not obeying a prompting I received?" I began talking to him and he ended up being very positive. Not only that but he was good friends with the Stake President! If we are keeping our eyes open we will be guided to what we are supposed to do, then we need to act on the information we receive.
Church on Sunday we had a Christmas program. So church was just an hour long and filled with musical numbers on the birth of the savior and a story telling of his birth. It helped bring in the Christmas spirit which is the same as the spirit of Christ. As people treat each other with kindness and giving we can feel the love that we all have for each other as a human family.
Here in Sweden Christmas is really celebrated the night before on Christmas eve, this is when Santa comes with presents, everyone dances around the Christmas tree, the big Christmas dinner takes place, and all of Sweden stops to watch Kalle Anka. Or Donald Duck in the U.S. Every Christmas eve starting at three no stores are open, and everyone watches a Donald Duck special which is the same every year. A funny tradition but a cool tradition to have.
Monday night through Christmas night we were with ward families in their homes. We were able to spend time with the Birgerssons, Schiazzanos, and the Lidberg families. This has been one of my favorite Christmases since I've been able to give more of myself. I've had the opportunity to serve others and live closer to Christ. I'm grateful for all the Christmas wishes I received from family and friends and wish the same back to all of you.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!