Saturday, December 25, 2010

Maybe Linus Was Right -- My Christmas Message 2010

Maybe Linus was right.

In the 1965 TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charlie Brown proclaims to nobody in particular, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" His friend Linus speaks up, quoting from the second chapter of Luke:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

Sometimes, we may feel like Longfellow:

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

A large portion of my employment the last several years has been in the realms of sports and politics. My eyes were opened a little to my own contributions of hate while listening to President Uchtdorf this past General Conference:

Perhaps there is no better laboratory to observe the sin of pride than the world of sports. I have always loved participating in and attending sporting events. But I confess there are times when the lack of civility in sports is embarrassing. How is it that normally kind and compassionate human beings can be so intolerant and filled with hatred toward an opposing team and its fans?

I have watched sports fans vilify and demonize their rivals. They look for any flaw and magnify it. They justify their hatred with broad generalizations and apply them to everyone associated with the other team. When ill fortune afflicts their rival, they rejoice.

Brethren, unfortunately we see today too often the same kind of attitude and behavior spill over into the public discourse of politics, ethnicity, and religion.

My dear brethren of the priesthood, my beloved fellow disciples of the gentle Christ, should we not hold ourselves to a higher standard? As priesthood bearers, we must realize that all of God’s children wear the same jersey. Our team is the brotherhood of man. This mortal life is our playing field. Our goal is to learn to love God and to extend that same love toward our fellowman. We are here to live according to His law and establish the kingdom of God. We are here to build, uplift, treat fairly, and encourage all of Heavenly Father’s children.

After all, "When ye have done it unto the least of these, my bretheren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt 25:40). May we remember this Christmas season that "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men."

And may God bless us, everyone.

Christmas in the Book of Mormon

‎"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets." -3 Nephi 1:13

1 Nephi 11:13-24

13And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

14And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?

15And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.

16And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?

17And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

18And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

19And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!

20And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.

21And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

22And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

23And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.

24And after he had said these words, he said unto me: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him.

2 Nephi 19:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Quotes

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.
There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal life with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. -New York Sun, 1897

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr Seuss

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. ~Oren Arnold

It might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see. -Bob Cratchit

I pray that during this season and always, we will see the purity of the story of the Savior’s birth and feel sincere gratitude for His life, teachings, and saving sacrifice for us. May this gratitude cause us to renew our determination to follow Him. May it also lead us to draw closer to our family, our church, and our fellowmen. And may we look steadfastly forward to that blessed day when the resurrected Christ will walk the earth again as our Lord, our King, and our blessed Savior. =President Deiter F Uchtdorf

Many of you will in the Christmas season find ways to give food to people who are hungry. As you do, you bring joy to the Lord. Yet He taught us that there is a way to give an even more priceless and lasting gift. He said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”7 With all the kindnesses we give for Him, the greatest we can offer is to point those we love and serve toward Him, the only source of eternal life. -President Henry B Eyring

My brothers and sisters, may the spirit of love which comes at Christmastime fill our homes and our lives and linger there long after the tree is down and the lights are put away for another year. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord, amen. -President Thomas S Monson

On earth: peace, good will toward men. That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. -Linus

Mr Kruger's Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

President Thomas S Monson -- Christmas Devotional 2010

My beloved brothers and sisters, it’s somewhat amazing to realize that an entire year has passed since the First Presidency Christmas Devotional of 2009. It seems that time goes by ever faster as the years pass.

As we have approached this special and sacred season, I have contemplated past Christmases. In looking back over the years, I find it is obvious that the Christmases I remember best, the Christmases which touched my heart the most, are Christmases filled with love and giving and the Spirit of the Savior. I believe that such would be true for all of us as we reminisce concerning our best-remembered Christmases. Bringing the Christmas spirit into our hearts and homes takes conscious effort and planning but can surely be accomplished.

My Christmas reading each year helps bring to me the spirit of the season. I always read the same three texts and have done so for more years than I can remember. I read once again a very small volume entitled The Mansion, by Henry Van Dyke. Its message always touches my heart. Also, I read the timeless Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Who could fail to be inspired and taught by the changes which come to Ebenezer Scrooge as he is instructed by the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future? Finally, I read from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, where the birth of the Savior of the world is recounted.

This year, as I was glancing through my extensive collection of Christmas stories, poems, and songs, I reread an account by John B. Matheson Jr., wherein he told of an experience he had 65 years ago, indicating that it was his most memorable Christmas. My heart was touched as I read of his poignant experience, and so I have felt to share it with you tonight, hoping that it will engender the Christmas spirit in you as well.

During Christmas 1945, John Matheson found himself serving in the army of occupation in Frankfurt, Germany. World War II had ended about seven months earlier, but during the conflict the city of Frankfurt had suffered much destruction. Most of the city was rubble. Many of the homes which had been left unscathed were taken over for housing the United States military. John and two other officers lived in a three-story house that easily could have served as a home for three families.

Each weekday, John and the other two officers would go to their office and return in the evening to find the beds made and the house spotlessly cleaned by an elderly German woman who was hired by the United States Army to be housekeeper for a number of houses in the area. Only occasionally would they see this frail little lady as she busily engaged in her tasks. Their conversations with her were limited, for she spoke no English and their German was poor; but through a sort of sign language and through smiles, they indicated satisfaction with her work.

Weekly, John went to the post exchange to get his ration of candy bars, soap, and incidentals. Though he sometimes grumbled about the poor selection available, he always purchased all he was allowed and put the excess into his footlocker.

As Christmas approached, John thought he should give some gift to the housekeeper; so from the abundance of his footlocker, he filled a large cardboard box with candy bars, soap, and cans of fruit juice. He knew that in the system of barter among the Germans, his gift to her was worth many, many dollars, but the cost to him was negligible.

Knowing she would not work on Christmas Day, as John left for the office on December 24th, he placed on the table where it would be seen his gift box and a Christmas greeting. All day he felt rather smug as he thought of his generous gift. The housekeeper would be like an heiress in the poverty of her neighborhood. How lucky she was, he thought. How beholden she would be to him—to the generous American. And yet his gift was not given in compassion but merely out of pity and for self-satisfaction.

As he approached the house in the darkness of the December evening, he saw the dim glow of the lamp filtering through the window. The house was still. He entered the home and saw that his gift and the recipient were gone. However, in the glow of that lamp, he saw on the table her Christmas note and her gift to him. He had expected no gift, but there it was—all she could afford and given in the spirit of Christmas.

What could a poor little old lady give? She could give from her poverty and from her heart her fondest memories of her beloved city of yesteryear, and she could give the Christmas star.

On that dimly lit table, along with her painstakingly written “Merry Christmas,” were 10 old and dog-eared picture postcard scenes of Frankfurt as it had appeared before the war had so devastated it. The housekeeper had placed each card on edge and fastened them together so that every 2 cards formed a point and all 10 together formed the Christmas star.

She had little to give. In fact, it was all she had. Though John Matheson lived to see many more Christmases, that little housekeeper’s Christmas star shone brightly throughout his life. He said that her “star of Bethlehem” implanted within him the Christmas spirit and taught him the true meaning of love and giving.1

Brothers and sisters, this joyful season brings to all of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree to which we have turned our minds, feelings, and actions to the Savior, whose birth we celebrate.

There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. Let it be a time that lights the eyes of children and puts laughter on their lips. Let it be a time for lifting the lives of those who live in loneliness. Let it be a time for calling our families together, for feeling a closeness to those who are near to us and a closeness also to those who are absent.

Let it be a time of prayers for peace, for the preservation of free principles, and for the protection of those who are far from us. Let it be a time of forgetting self and finding time for others. Let it be a time for discarding the meaningless and for stressing the true values. Let it be a time of peace because we have found peace in His teachings.

Most of all, let it be a time to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the Wise Men.

My brothers and sisters, may the spirit of love which comes at Christmastime fill our homes and our lives and linger there long after the tree is down and the lights are put away for another year. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord, amen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

President Henry B. Eyring -- First Presidency Christmas Devotional 2010

I am grateful for this opportunity to greet you as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The prophet Isaiah spoke of Him centuries before His birth: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”1

This little child, born in a stable and cradled in a manger, was a gift from our loving Heavenly Father. He was the promised Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the Son of the living God. He was with His Father before He came to earth in mortality, the Creator of the earth upon which we stand.

The great Apostle John gives us a sense of the greatness of this child in the courts on high, from which He came: “Without him was not any thing made that was made.”2 Yet He came to earth in humble circumstances.

He worked as a boy and a youth in the carpenter’s shop of Joseph in Nazareth. In His mortal ministry He walked the dusty roads of Palestine, healed the sick, raised the dead, taught His gospel to people who rejected Him, gave His life on Calvary’s hill, and rose on the third day in what began the Resurrection to break the bands of death for us all and so became “the firstfruits of them that slept.”3

Above all, the Savior whose birth we remember this season of the year paid the price of all of our sins. Again the prophet Isaiah, long before our Lord’s birth, saw the gift beyond price of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

He gave us this description of what the Savior did for us:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”4

Those who have felt that peace and healing have their hearts filled with gratitude. And so do those who love them. My wife and I read messages and see photographs sent by two of our granddaughters serving as the Lord’s missionaries in South America. They send us photos of smiling people with joy shining in their faces. My granddaughters send messages of gratitude and love for the effects of the Atonement in the lives of people they have taught and seen transformed by their choice to follow the Savior’s example to be baptized and receive the ministration of the Holy Ghost.

As Latter-day Saints, we feel our hearts drawn out in gratitude to a loving Father and His Beloved Son. We are thankful to feel that blessing because of the faith of a 14-year-old boy, Joseph Smith. His prayer on a spring morning in 1820 made possible our receiving the sure witness that the Father, the great Elohim, and His Son, Jehovah, live and love us. They appeared and spoke with him in the full light of day. They called him by name.

The gift of that glorious assurance that we are known and loved can sustain us in the trials life will surely bring. We need never feel that we are alone. We need never give up hope.

I saw that on a day when I visited my elderly aunt in a rest home a few years ago. She was a widow. The effects of age left her unable to care for herself. Though I had known her since I was a little boy, she did not recognize me or others of her family in the crowded sitting room of the rest home.

I looked into her face expecting to see the pain of loneliness and of loss. Yet her face shone with love and radiant joy. Her voice had the happy sound I remembered from the days of long before. Most of the time I was with her that day she just looked at us pleasantly as we spoke to her.

Then, every few minutes, she would repeat with a radiant smile these six words, as if they were part of the conversation: “I know that my Redeemer lives.” It seemed to me that her joy and a sound of gratitude in her voice grew with each repetition of that declaration.

I cannot know all the sources of that miracle of peace in her life. But I know one. Since she was a little girl, she had been in sacrament meetings. She had bowed her head and heard words spoken in prayer to our Heavenly Father. Uncounted times she had pledged to take upon her the name of the Son, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments that she might have His Spirit to be with her.5

And so, while the passing years had stripped away from her life so much of what had brought her joy, she retained the supernal gifts we can feel at Christmastime. She remembered her Redeemer. She knew that He lived. She felt His love. And she felt His love for all of Heavenly Father’s children, wherever they were and whatever their circumstances.

I realized, as we left her smiling presence, that she had been giving us the gift she had received. She knew the source of the peace she felt. And out of her gratitude and love for the Savior, she wanted us to share in the blessing with her. I had gone to comfort her and came away comforted.

That is the spirit of Christmas, which puts in our hearts a desire to give joy to other people. We feel a spirit of giving and gratitude for what we have been given. The celebration of Christmas helps us keep our promise to always remember Him and His gifts to us. And that remembrance creates a desire in us to give gifts to Him.

He has told us what we could give Him to bring Him joy. First, we can, out of faith in Him, give a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We can repent and make sacred covenants with Him. Within the sound of my voice are some who have felt His invitation to the peace His gospel brings but have not yet accepted it. You would give Him joy if you would act now to come unto Him while you can.

Second, you can give Him the gift of doing for others what He would do for them. Many of you have already done that and felt His appreciation. It may have been visiting a lonely widower. It may have been joining with others in a project to help those in need.

There is a long list of possibilities in the book of Matthew. There we read words from our Redeemer, which we all hope to hear and to speak when we see Him after this life:

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”6

In those words the Lord makes clear what gifts we might give Him out of our gratitude. Each act of kindness to anyone becomes a kindness to Him because He loves all of Heavenly Father’s children. And because that brings joy to Him, it also brings joy to His Father, to whom we owe thanks beyond measure.

Many of you will in the Christmas season find ways to give food to people who are hungry. As you do, you bring joy to the Lord. Yet He taught us that there is a way to give an even more priceless and lasting gift. He said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”7 With all the kindnesses we give for Him, the greatest we can offer is to point those we love and serve toward Him, the only source of eternal life.

The most precious gift I have to give is my witness of the Savior. I testify that He was born of Mary as the Son of God. He lived a perfect life. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He restored His gospel to the earth and the keys of His priesthood to those who have passed them on to this blessed day. I know by the Spirit that Thomas S. Monson holds and exercises those keys in our time.

I leave you my love and my blessing. I am grateful for your inspiring examples of love, faith, and service, which bring joy to my life. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf -- First Presidency Christmas Devotional 2010

Isn’t this a wonderful time of the year! So many things fill our hearts with the spirit of Christmas: the melody of Christmas carols, the lights, the decorations, and the happy greetings of “Merry Christmas!”

There are certain words that ring like bells in my soul and remind me of the beauty and meaning of Christmas—words such as “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus”1 and, of course, “Joy to the World!” “Away in a Manger,” and “Silent Night.”

There are other words, more cautionary, that are worthy of our consideration as well—words such as:

Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot . . .
But the Grinch,
Who lived just north of Who-ville,
Did NOT!2
The Grinch, that memorable character from a classic children’s story by Dr. Seuss, had a heart that “was two sizes too small,” and he hated everything about Christmas. Through the course of the story, however, he undergoes a dramatic transformation when he learns that there is more to Christmas than decorations and gifts.

Perhaps the Grinch’s story is so memorable because, if we are honest, we may be able to relate to him. Who among us has not felt concern over the commercialization and even greed of the Christmas season? Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed by the packed calendars, the stress of finding gifts, the pressure of planning meals and events? In fact, psychologists tell us that during this season of cheer and goodwill, many feel sorrow and depression.

We know what the Christmas season ought to be—we know it should be a time of reflection on the birth of the Savior, a time of celebration and of generosity. But sometimes our focus is so much on the things that annoy and overwhelm us that we can almost hear ourselves say in unison with the Grinch: “Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now! I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! . . . But HOW?”

While it’s true that we can find materialism and anxiety in Christmas, it is also true that if we have eyes to see, we can experience the powerful message of the birth of the Son of God and feel the hope and peace He brings to the world. We, like the Grinch, can see Christmas through new eyes.

Looking for Christ
As an old family tradition, our family has always celebrated the Advent of Christmas. Starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, we would get together on Sunday afternoons, light wax candles on a pine Advent wreath, enjoy delicious homemade cookies, and read passages of scriptures that center on the Christ.

We read accounts of ancient prophets who yearned for the coming of the Messiah. We read scriptures that proclaim the wondrous story of His birth. Each week by singing beautiful Christmas songs and having a fun time together, our family tried to refocus on the true meaning of the season. I must admit that delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and tasty homemade cookies helped a lot to catch the joyful feeling of the Christmas season!

While celebrating the Advent of Christmas is not part of all cultures around the globe, there is something we can learn from this widespread Christian tradition. Perhaps even this year we might carve from our busy schedules some time to study and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas—personally and as families.

When we prepare for Christmas by pondering its real meaning, we prepare to experience the Christ and His message. May I suggest three things we may want to study, ponder, and apply in this season of preparation.

Rejoice in the Birth of Our Savior
First, rejoice in the birth of our Savior. We celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the Creator, our Messiah. We rejoice that the King of kings came to earth, was born in a manger, and lived a perfect life. When Jesus was born, the joy in heaven was so great it could not be contained, and angelic hosts parted the veil, proclaiming unto shepherds “good tidings of great joy, . . . praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”3

Wise Men “rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when . . . they saw the young child with Mary his mother, [they] fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts.”4

It is only fitting that we—like the Wise Men, shepherds, and angels—take time to rejoice and celebrate that glorious first Christmas Day.

Ponder His Influence in Our Lives Today
Second, ponder His influence in our lives today. The more commercialized and busy the Christmas season becomes, the easier it is for the sublime message of the Savior’s life to get lost along the way. If we notice that planning for parties and scrambling for presents begin to detract from the peaceable message of Jesus Christ and distance us from the gospel He preached, let us take a step back, slow down a little, and reconsider what matters most.

Christmas is a time for remembering the Son of God and renewing our determination to take upon us His name. It is a time to reassess our lives and examine our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Let this be a time of remembrance, of gratitude, and a time of forgiveness. Let it be a time to ponder the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its meaning for each of us personally. Let it especially be a time of renewal and recommitment to live by the word of God and to obey His commandments. By doing this, we honor Him far more than we ever could with lights, gifts, or parties.

Look Steadfastly for His Coming
Third, look steadfastly for His coming. The early disciples of Jesus Christ yearned for the time when He would come again. For them, mortality was a time of preparation and growth, of sifting and refining, a time for trimming their lamps and preparing for the return of their beloved Savior.

Brothers and sisters, 2,000 years later we also stand as His disciples. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The term latter-day is significant. We live and serve in a time prior to the Lord’s triumphant return. Our work is to prepare ourselves and the world for the coming of the Messiah in glory!

Not long after His mortal ministry, Christ said to the Apostle John, “Surely I come quickly.” And John answered, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”5

We live in the 11th hour before the coming of the day of our Lord. Let us therefore look forward to that blessed day when the King of kings descends with a shout,6 takes away death, dries up tears, and ushers in a new era of peace, joy, and learning.

While the Christmas season is typically a time for looking back and celebrating the birth of our Lord, it seems to me that it should also be a time of looking to the future. Let us look forward. Let us prepare for that blessed day when He will come again. Let us be as wise as those ancients who watched for His coming. As His disciples, let us have in our hearts and minds the words of John: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Seeing Christmas with New Eyes
If we look for what is wrong with the Christmas season, we can surely find it. Like the Grinch, we can grumble and complain, becoming cold and cynical about what we see around us. Nevertheless, if we look for the good, we can see this time of year with new eyes—perhaps even with the eyes of a child.

The Grinch saw the good in Christmas when he learned to look past its worldly trappings. If we do the same, we can, with the Grinch, proclaim: “Maybe Christmas . . . doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”

Our heart may not grow three sizes as the Grinch’s did, but our heart will change. Our eyes will open to the miracles all around us—at Christmastime and throughout the year.

I pray that during this season and always, we will see the purity of the story of the Savior’s birth and feel sincere gratitude for His life, teachings, and saving sacrifice for us. May this gratitude cause us to renew our determination to follow Him. May it also lead us to draw closer to our family, our church, and our fellowmen. And may we look steadfastly forward to that blessed day when the resurrected Christ will walk the earth again as our Lord, our King, and our blessed Savior.

I pray that each and every one of you will have a wonderful and merry Christmas season. I leave you my love and blessings in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sorry I've been gone....

Sorry I haven't posted on here for a few weeks. I've had a few things fall onto my plate, and some new opportunities that may be coming up in 2011 that I need to prepare for (if they happen. If not, then the preparation will be for my good.)

However, I plan to get things moving on here in the next week or so. Meanwhile, I feel very blessed to have been able to get really good seats to tonights First Presidency Christmas Devotional:

I'll post more about the experience when I have the chance.  Stay tuned!