Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Faith is Pointed toward the Future

Happy New Year! As we look forward to a new year, we hope you find happiness and joy and that you have learned from your journey through the last year. 

"As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those days may have been. The past is to be learned from not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."
~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
  Brigham Young University Devotional
  January 13, 2009

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas!

We would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you find joy in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and find peace in the coming year.

"Giving, not getting brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the "Spirit of Christmas," we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the "Spirit of Christ."

~Thomas S. Monson
   "The best Christmas Ever," Liahona, Dec. 2008

Friday, December 19, 2014

A faith centered in the living Christ

“We welcome another Christmas, a time for rejoicing, the season for celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind. At this joyous time there is reaffirmed in the hearts of men and women everywhere the glorious hope of peace and good will of which the angels sang at the Savior’s birth.
The wondrous birth of Jesus Christ, His sinless life, His voluntary death as a consecrated sacrifice for the sins of mankind, His glorious resurrection with its promise of life eternal for us all, should claim our reverent attention at all times, but especially this holy season.

Our faith is centered in the living Christ, whom we seek to serve. Our prayers of gratitude ascend to God, our Eternal Father, for the great work of redemption wrought by His Son, Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah who shall come again.

We believe, and proclaim to the world, that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12.) We know he is God’s almighty Son and invite all men and women, young and old, to come unto Christ and be perfected in him.

At this holy season of Christmas, we express our love for all people everywhere and reaffirm that if we will but follow the divine principles taught by the Savior of mankind, we may partake of the peace that He came to bring.” –First Presidency Christmas Message December 1983
I love this Christmas season with all my heart. I love how the people unites in faith to do good in the world. I have been thinking lately—since I have a sister on a mission and she has been encouraging me to do better—on how I can have a more meaningful Christmas. To have a Christ-centered season this year, I want to make Christmas a more enjoyable season to those around me.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions that invites Christ in your lives?  What are some service opportunities you have found during this season? By sharing these experiences in the comments below, you will help others, like myself, realize more service opportunities that can better our lives and the lives of those around us.
Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Keeping the Spirit of Christ

When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning.

"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.

"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 is victory. We will live again because He came. Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life"
                                                                    -President Thomas S. Monson
                                                                     2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional

The Christmas season is a time to reflect and act upon the blessings and opportunities we have because of the birth, life, Atonement, and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As our Heavenly Father "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16), we express our love toward one another and toward God and his precious Son by giving of ourselves.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas: A Time to Serve, A Time to Love

Christmas is a wonderful time when we can reflect upon how we could have done better at serving others during the preceding year. To prepare for New Year's resolutions, these thoughts can lead us to wonder how we might do better throughout the following year to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts. This process of turning outward in service instead of inward is part of what can keep Christmas a happy time, and this transformation we undergo is enhanced as we contemplate the birth and life of Him for whom this holiday was named. As we remember the significance of His birth and His loving acts, may we strive to emulate His love by our own acts of kindness.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christ and the Spirit of Giving

"Think of the simple yet dignified way our Heavenly Father chose to honor the birth of His Son. On that holy night, angels appeared not to the rich but to shepherds. The Christ child was born not in a mansion but in a manger. He was wrapped not in silk but in swaddling clothes.
The simplicity of that first Christmas foreshadowed the life of the Savior. Though He had created the earth, walked in realms of majesty and glory, and stood at the right hand of the Father, He came to earth as a helpless child. His life was a model of modest nobility, and He walked among the poor, the sick, the downcast, and the heavy laden.

Though He was a king, He cared neither for the honors nor the riches of men. His life, His words, and His daily activities were monuments of simple yet profound dignity.

Jesus the Christ, who knew perfectly how to give, set for us the pattern for giving. To those whose hearts are heavy with loneliness and sorrow, He brings compassion and comfort. To those whose bodies and minds are afflicted with illness and suffering, He brings love and healing. To those whose souls are burdened with sin, He offers hope, forgiveness, and redemption.

If the Savior were among us today, we would find Him where He always was—ministering to the meek, the downcast, the humble, the distressed, and the poor in spirit. During this Christmas season and always, may we give to Him by loving as He loves. May we remember the humble dignity of His birth, gifts, and life. And may we, through simple acts of kindness, charity, and compassion, fill the world with the light of His love and healing power."

-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

A God of Miracles

What miracles have happened in your life today?  God is aware of us. He loves us. One of the greatest miracles made possible thr...