Boy, I just had one of the sweetest experiences of my life! I am forever going to remember the last twenty minutes of 3rd hour at church this past week. The wonderful Primary children, together with their leaders and parents, put together a huge Christmas party for all 4 of us Elders serving in the Cedar Rapids 2nd Ward. At the beginning, we were asked to teach from Luke 2 and then bear our testimonies…all while sitting on either side of a Christmas tree and a mountain of presents. At the end of it, they told us that all of those presents were for us and that the Primary children had gathered food and clothes for us all week before wrapping them that day. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing as we (together with the help of the kids) unwrapped every single one. That memory will go down as one of my favorites from my mission, for sure.
It’s been a bit of an up and down week. We had 25 appointments fall through on us in the past week and a half. After we got to about 12, we just started to laugh them off. But, I can testify that the Lord’s hand is in all things because we were able to find/teach people that we were not planning on seeing, but who sorely needed it throughout the entire week.
A few years ago, a young boy went to find a private place where he could kneel down and pray to ask God a question. On that question hung everything. The answer that he then received changed his life forever. That’s not Joseph Smith’s story that I’m referencing, it’s my story. That day, I found out for myself that there truly is a God in Israel. I now know without a doubt that He does care about us. Two millenia ago, He sent us the greatest thing He could give to us. That was the gift of His Son. Christ IS the gift. And I know now more than perhaps ever in my life that He is the Savior and Redeemer of mankind. On Easter of this year, I wrote something to the effect that no words that had ever befallen man’s ear were sweeter than those spoken by the angels at His tomb when they said “He is not here, for He is risen”. Perhaps, a close second would be those spoken by the angel Gabriel to the shepherds in Luke 2.
My invitation to one and all is to not get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season, but instead to follow Christ’s example and see who around them is in need of healing this winter. We are all in need of love, forgiveness, peace, joy, and happiness. Please make the sharing of these gifts a habit as we cheerfully go about our Father’s work this Christmas season and forever.
Faith and Honor,