One of my favorite Christmas childhood traditions was doing the 12 Days of Christmas. My family would pick families in need and deliver goodies, presents or food to their homes for 12 days. The thrill of the door bell ditch sits in the forefront of my memories. My little family is now starting to make our own 12 Days of Christmas memories this year.
So in honor of one of my favorite Christmas traditions (that starts this Thursday, Dec. 13!), I am posting about the 12 Days of Priesthood this Mormon Monday.
My cute nephew turned 12 a few months ago.
And in the LDS religion, boys receive the Priesthood at age 12. “The Priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children.” The boys are ordained to the office of a Deacon.
My sister knew this was a big deal, and she wanted to honor and celebrate the occasion as well as prepare and teach Evan for this major responsibility. She decided to do the “12 Days of Priesthood”. So for 12 days prior to Evan’s ordination, he would get a little something each day to prepare him for the Priesthood.
I tweaked her final list a bit and included our ideas for you here. Do them in any order that works best for your family. Here are 12 ways to celebrate the 12 Days of Priesthood:
1. Letter. Have an important male figure in your son’s life write about his testimony of the Priesthood or some special experiences with it. The letter could be from a grandpa, uncle, cousin, leader, friend, advisor or teacher.
2. Family Home Evening Lesson. Hold a FHE or two on the Restoration of the Priesthood or what the Priesthood is. Knowledge and understanding is an important part of holding the Priesthood.
3. New suit. Go suit shopping together and pick out his first suit (or a new one). Talk about the importance of looking like a servant of the Lord.
4. Small inspirational gift. My sister gave her son a rock that had the word ‘Courage’ on it. She talked about the importance of having courage to make the right choice (as peer influence becomes more powerful than parental influence at this age). The rock is small enough to fit into his pocket, so she may slip it into his coat pocket when he goes on a date, to a party, etc. to remind him to have courage. The gift could also be a CTR ring, tie tack, book, journal, etc.
5. Discussion. Read and discuss together the duties of the Aaronic Priesthood in the Doctrine and Covenants. See D&C Section 20, 84, 107 and 121 for reference. This could be another Family Home Evening Lesson.
6. Priesthood Line of Authority. A Priesthood line of authority traces the Priesthood from man to man back to Jesus Christ. Print your son’s line and make it into a book mark for his scriptures or a print a nice graphic for a bedroom wall.
7. Framed picture. This could be a picture of Jesus or the temple or your family for his bedroom. The picture will be a nice reminder in his room of first priorities.
8. Date with Dad. Have dad take your son on a one-on-one date. This would be a great time to do a Father’s interview and talk about concerns and questions about holding the Priesthood.
9. New tie or new white shirt. Again this goes back to dressing respectful of the office they hold.
10. Letter from mom. While letters from men are important, so is one from mom. After all, women have testimonies of the Priesthood as well. She could share a special experience or memory where the Priesthood has blessed her life.
11. Run-Through. Turning 12 can be a little scary because you are expected to pass the sacrament to the congregation. It is always helpful to have a run through of where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to do. Coordinate with the Priesthood advisor or quorum president so they can be involved to help your son feel comfortable with his new responsibilities.
12. Actual Ordination. Today is the big day. Invite family to witness the special occasion. And make sure to write down the blessing. Also be sure to get a picture of your new Deacon.
(It is important to note the lack of food on this list. So often we want to attach treats to things we might perceive as boring or things we are trying to make special or ramp up for kids. But then we can mask true joy with a false one. The kids end up feeling the sugar and not the Spirit.)
My sister said that she and Evan started to refer to each item as Priesthood Treasures. Evan began to ask “What is my Priesthood Treasure” today? If you wanted to continue with this idea, you could have a treasure box that contained the new “treasure” each day.
Perhaps a simpler idea is to do the 12 Days of Priesthood…letter style.
You could do 12 letters leading up to the day of the Priesthood ordination. The letters could be from men and what it means to them to hold the Priesthood– like uncles, grandpas, cousins, home teachers, priesthood advisors, friends, etc. (Don’t ask your Bishop; he is too busy.) Or some women like mom, grandmas, or aunts could write letters as well about how the Priesthood has blessed their lives. A new letter could be in the mail box each day. Of course, you would save all the letters to read later.
Events like baptism and receiving the Priesthood are so important in our kids lives that I am all for making them special. And I think the 12 Days of Priesthood is great way to honor and celebrate the occasion as well as prepare our sons for their sacred responsibility.
Do you have any ideas we could add to our 12 Days of Priesthood list?