The LDS Church, believing itself to be a restoration of the the original church rather than a reformation, could certainly be accused of spitting in the face of thousands of years of Christian tradition. And in a way, it unavoidably does. There are points of doctrine we hold very dear, that place us squarely in the camp of the heretics from the point of view of most modern denominations.
But one thing that participation in the sphere has given me is a sense of gratitude for those very traditions.
Now, it generally being bad form to come to a gift-giving party this great without something to contribute, I do have a few things to share:
The first is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s arrangement and performance of “What Shall We Give to the Babe in the Manger?” This song always sounded magical to me as a child, even before I listened to the lyrics. Now that I do, the song consistently succeeds in making me feel indebted, insignificant, and grateful—precisely the frame of mind Christmas should inspire.
The second is not exactly Christmas-themed, but I’m not going to make another post in the spring, so I might as well share it now. A couple years ago an LDS composer named Rob Gardner had Easter dinner with us. Rob was in our area for a joint LDS-Catholic performance of his choral piece The Lamb of God, on the life of Christ. I attended the performance and was blown away. If you look at the piece as an “album,” then the best “single” would be “Hosannah,” meant to capture the hubbub at Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (Incidentally, if the discussion around the dinner table was any indication, Rob might well benefit from what we talk about in this corner of the internet)