Thursday, December 22, 2011

Because He Came

This past week I have been thinking a lot about our Savior, Jesus Christ. With the Christmas season there comes snow, presents, trees, cooking and baking, and family. But there would be no Christmas without Jesus Christ, for this is the time we celebrate His birth and recommit ourselves to following in His footsteps. There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.
Recently, we had a Christmas party at the church where we were able to participate in singing and activities with the members of our branch and guests. It was great to feel the spirit of those people, especially the young ones, and just have a fun and special time with them. They have such a strong spirit of family and so many Christ-like qualities.
This past week we had an all-mission "Christmas" conference. Elder Barrett (my Zone Leader) and I performed "Away in a Manger". It was awesome. Elder Rollins played on the piano and the spirit was so strong as he put "The Rollins Effect" on it and made it sound amazing and original. The intro sounded like a music box, it was SO GOOD! No one does it better than him. As we sang I could feel the spirit of God so strong and I felt like I was bearing my testimony that I know He lives and I know that He stays “by my cradle till morning is nigh”. It was an experience I will never forget … the power of music, the power of worship.
At the mission conference there was a man that talked about the addiction recovery programs in the church. He said, “It is impossible to overcome addiction without God." He told us a story about how he was talking to a doctor that studied addictions and how to overcome them. The doctor said to him, "Recovery programs for addictions are not successful." This man said to him, "Our program is." The doctor said, "Is it religion based?" and the man replied, "Yes". The doctor quickly replied to this man, "Those are the ONLY ones that work." Our program works because it involves Jesus Christ. President Boyd. K Packer said, "Many people believe that the Atonement of Jesus Christ only applies at the end of our mortal ministry. That is NOT true. It can be applied every day." This man that was speaking to us talked about that. He said, "Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ WE BECOME SAINTS."
Many people nowadays believe that in order to be a saint one must die for a righteous cause or for someone. I believe that dying for a righteous cause is honorable, but I also believe that instead of dying for something, why not LIVE for something? Every day we have an opportunity to become better through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through His Atonement we can become SAINTS. We can walk in His footsteps every day if we choose to and live as He did. I love Christmas because we celebrate the BIRTH and LIFE or our Savior, Jesus Christ. We only have one opportunity to live, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ.
President Thomas S. Monson spoke at the Christmas Devotional we watched a couple weeks ago and I love the emphasis he put on our Savior, Jesus Christ.
He said, “Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.
Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.
Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.
Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.
Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life.
Because He came, we are gathered tonight to worship Him, in bonds of brotherhood and love.
May His precious Spirit be with us, and may He ever be the center of our celebrations and indeed of our very lives, I pray in His holy name, amen."
I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that it is only through Him that we can be saved. I am so grateful for my family and for the love and support they give me each and every day as I serve here in California for two years. This is the greatest Christmas present I could receive and have right now in my life … serving a full-time mission. My mission has changed me forever and I have received so many blessings already in my life. Thank you all for your beautiful testimonies you have shared with me and for the packages! Have a Merry Christmas and always remember the true meaning of it. BECAUSE HE CAME we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and live in the celestial glory of heaven with our families forever.



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