Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christ -The Only Begotten Son

The Only Begotten Son

joseph-mary

The mortal life of Jesus Christ began when He was born in Bethlehem. Luke gave this account: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God … to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph. … And the angel said unto her, … thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. … The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:26–27, 30–32, 35; see also 1 Nephi 11:16–21; Alma 7:10).Mary and Joseph both understood that the son to whom Mary would give birth and who would be called Jesus was the Only Begotten Son of God.

Music Video:Newborn by Alex Boye

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is called the Only Begotten Son because He is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. He inherited divine powers from God, His Father. From His mother, Mary, He inherited mortality and was subject to hunger, thirst, fatigue, pain, and death.1

Because Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father, He was able to lay down His life and take it up again. The scriptures teach that “through the atonement of Christ,” we “obtain a resurrection” (Jacob 4:11). We also learn that all “might be raised in immortality unto eternal life” if we “would believe” (D&C 29:43).

As we come to understand more fully what it means for Jesus to be the Only Begotten Son of the Father, our faith in Christ will increase. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Faith in Jesus Christ is the conviction and assurance of (1) His status as the Only Begotten Son of God, (2) His infinite Atonement, and (3) His literal Resurrection.”2 Modern prophets have testified: “[Jesus Christ] was … the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.”3

Music Video:  Oh Come All Ye Faithful by Vocal Point

In the New Testament we read of women, named and unnamed, who exercised faith in Jesus Christ, learned and lived His teachings, and testified of His ministry, miracles, and majesty. These women became exemplary disciples and important witnesses in the work of salvation.

For example, Martha bore strong testimony of the Savior’s divinity when she said to Him, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (John 11:27).

Some of the earliest witnesses of the Savior’s divinity were His mother, Mary, and her cousin Elisabeth. Soon after the angel Gabriel visited Mary, she visited Elisabeth. As soon as Elisabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she “was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:41) and bore testimony that Mary would become mother to the son of God.

Music Video: Mary Did You Know? By Pentonix

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Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christ -Jehovah

Jehovah – The Creatorlds_dt5-patron

Jesus Christ “created the heavens and the earth” (3 Nephi 9:15). He did so through the power of the priesthood, under the direction of our Heavenly Father (see Moses 1:33). “How grateful we should be that a wise Creator fashioned an earth and placed us here,” said President Thomas S. Monson, “… that we might experience a time of testing, an opportunity to prove ourselves in order to qualify for all that God has prepared for us to receive.”1When we use our agency to obey God’s commandments and repent, we become worthy to return to live with Him. Of the Creation, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said:“We are the reason He created the universe! …“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.”2 Knowing that Jesus Christ created the earth for us because we mean everything to Heavenly Father can help us increase our love for Them. From the Scriptures John 1:3; Hebrews 1:1–2; Mosiah 3:8; Moses 1:30–33, 35–39; Abraham 3:24–25 From Our History We have been created in God’s image (see Moses 2:26–27), and we have divine potential. The Prophet Joseph Smith admonished the sisters in Relief Society to “live up to [their] privilege.”3 With that encouragement as a foundation, sisters in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been taught to live up to their divine potential by fulfilling God’s purposes for them. “As they come to understand who they really are—God’s daughters, with an innate capacity to love and nurture—they reach their potential as holy women.”4 “You are now placed in a situation where you can act according to those sympathies which God has planted in your bosoms,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith. “If you live up to these principles how great and glorious!—if you live up to your privilege, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.”5 What Can I Do? How does seeking to understand our divine nature increase our love for the Savior? How can we show our gratitude for God’s creations?

(Content taken from the visiting teaching message Oct. 2013)

Christ the Creator Video

How Great Thou Art Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Piano Guys How Great Thou Art

 

REVELATION THROUGH THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

REVELATION THROUGH THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

I would like to focus today on the principles taught in  D&C 76: 1-10. Here we learn that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We also learn that the mysteries of the kingdom will be revealed to ALL the faithful and that through the power of God He will ENLIGHTEN our minds that our wisdom be great and our understanding reach to the heavens.

1 Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior.

2 Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out.

3 His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.

4 From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.

5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.

10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

From eternity to eternity He IS THE SAME

Reading those verses, we learn many attributes of God and gain a better understanding of Him. God is already perfect. He does not go through trial and error with his children as we earthly parents often do. We are not part of his learning curve. He has already attained perfection. Therefore, he is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Knowing this, Christians believing this, it is hard for me to understand why it is so hard for christians today to believe in modern prophets and revelations as they believe in the prophets and revelations of the bible? I was looking at applying to teach at a christian school and wanted to know more about them. I looked at the statement of beliefs to make sure I could agree with every point of belief without expounding on the deeper knowledge that we have through revelation. I found I could on all save one point. We believe the bible to be the word of God and then they clarified that further by saying “We do not believe in any further revelations.” My mind stumbled over that concept. Because God is unceasing,  His revelations did not cease as the final pages of the bible were closed.

Let’s take the words “yesterday, today and forever” and change them to the word “dispensations” and let’s look at the pattern God has set for us from the beginning of time.

Elder Bednar explains to us that “A gospel dispensation is a period of time in which the necessary priesthood authority, ordinances, and doctrinal knowledge are found on the earth to implement the Father’s plan of salvation for His children. Essential to the establishment of a dispensation is an authorized servant of God, a dispensation head, who holds and exercises the authority and keys of the holy priesthood. Gospel dispensations were established through Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and others. In every dispensation gospel truths are revealed anew—or dispensed—so the people of that period are not entirely dependent upon past dispensations for knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan.”

Adam was a prophet first one that we know! His dispensation was the beginning. In the beginning, there was light. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen 1:3)” And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—

Light was the first earthly gift God gave to us. I want to understand light with a deeper knowledge and understanding of what exactly light is and how we use the word light in christian language.

Elder Theodore Burton explained that “God’s light includes the physical light we see, which makes us feel so warm and comfortable. God’s light is also the power to understand and comprehend all things. In other words, all kinds of light are related to intelligence and truth. We have been advised that if our eye be single to the glory of God, our whole body shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in us, for a body which is filled with God’s light will be able to comprehend all things.”

Looking in the scriptures for further light on the subject, we read in D&C

“We need not think that the light of God is limited only to the things of the Spirit. We are taught that “the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; (See D&C 88:67)

“…we have been taught that “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” Such light and truth forsake the evil one. (See D&C 93:36–37.)

“The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.” (D&C 88:11–13.)

So we can say that light is not only a physical light, but a spiritual light that refers to our intelligence, to knowledge, and to truth.

When we study the Old Testament prophets and look closely at their relationships with God, we find a consistent pattern of truth and light.

Prophets of the old Testament and early Book of Mormon taught principles of truth. The law of Moses was given to them that included the law of sacrifice and the law of prayer. The light of knowledge brought the spirit of revelation and they prophesied of the coming birth of Jesus Christ and that His gospel would be established on the earth.Their minds were enlightened and they understood.  Prophets of old received revelations that gave warning to the people and through that same spirit of revelation God showed unto them the wonders of eternity, of things to come -even the things of many generations. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that ” … the rolling forward of the latter-day glory, even the dispensation of the fulness of times, is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 186).

Let’s move forward through time to the dispensation of Jesus Christ. When he was upon the earth we gain an even deeper understanding of light.

John 8:12

  • New Testament

¶Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

3 Nephi 9:18

  • Book of Mormon

I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

D&C 84:45

  • Doctrine and Covenants

For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

We can now add to our definition of light as this:

Divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. It is the law by which all things are governed in heaven and on earth (D&C 88:6–13). It also helps people understand gospel truths and helps to put them on that gospel path which leads to salvation

Christ established his church upon the earth and then fulfilled the law of Moses through his ultimate sacrifice. When Christ was crucified, the earth was covered in darkness. A very physical and spiritual darkness for the light of Christ was no longer on the earth.

Moving again through our timeline, we come to what is actually known as the Dark Ages for the knowledge of truth and light were no longer on the earth.

But then came an exciting age of enlightenment when the minds of men were beginning to open to the knowledge of God. Minds were being enlightened to understanding and to inspiration. Martin Luther, in 1522, began to translate the bible and make it available to the common people who, as they read and believed, were then open to receive the light of truth and knowledge.

Puritans wanted to separate church from state affairs desiring a more perfect gospel untainted by the philosophies of men (or rather -a king).

Pilgrims journeyed to the promised land to obtain religious freedom.

Our founding fathers were inspired to create one nation under God; and from then to now the advancements made through enlightened minds has been amazing.

In 1862, Brigham Young said: “Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work”(Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 18–19).

Can you see God’s plan? Once again God is preparing a people to receive the true light and knowledge of the gospel -just as he did with the prophets of old. A pattern of light was set from the beginning and will continue – for God delights in honoring those who serve Him in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

And then, one day, the dispensation of Joseph Smith began as he read the words:  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  and decided to ask for truth. Joseph describes his experience:

“ I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

Truth and light and the spirit of revelation was once again upon the earth with a living prophet of God!

Continuing in D&C 76: 11 – 12

11 We, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, being in the Spirit on the sixteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two—

12 By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God—

Prophets today follow the patterns of old. They prophesy of the second coming of Christ,  they teach principle, give warning, continue the work of the gospel and build up the kingdom of God. Nothing has changed for God is the same.  “His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.”

(D&C 128:18): “ In this greatest and last of all gospel dispensations, “a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which have never been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and the prudent, shall be revealed … in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times”

In a recent talk, Elder Bednar shared this prophesy.

In the book of Moses, Enoch foresees the restoration of the gospel in the latter days, the gathering of Israel, the second coming of the Savior, and the return of Zion. He also foresees that “…  before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve; “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood

Prophet Harold B Lee prophesied “ that the rains of disaster, the rains of difficulty, the floods and winds of severe trials are going to beat upon the house of every one of you. There will be temptation to sin, you will have hardship, you will have difficulty to face in your life. The only ones that will not fall when those tests come will be those who have their houses founded upon the rock of testimony. You will know no matter what comes; you will not be able to stand on borrowed light.”

All of us have the right to receive light. Doctrine and Covenants clarifies that those who will receive it are  “all those who fear god”. This does not mean those of us who are afraid of God, rather this means that the…

“…fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience.” (Websters 1828 Dictionary)

When we align ourselves with perfect obedience to the light of Christ, the law that governs all, we too can receive the light of knowledge that brings the spirit of revelation. (76:10) For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

It is important to understand we can only receive revelation for ourselves and for those we have stewardship over.God will reveal His light upon the world through his Prophets. We can have the truth of these things revealed unto us line up line, precept upon precept  – through revelation – through the light of Christ – through all time that this great and everlasting work may continue unceasing and forever. Amen.

The Spirit of Generosity Gives Back

I simply must share this story. I had to wait to collect my emotions and hold them in check so I am not raining on the keyboard. I had a beautiful moment yesterday when strangers came together in the spirit of generosity and good will.

I was at the http://packpostnmore.com/Home.html ready to mail off my package of elfish delights for Auntie Elf Mckenna and Uncle Elf Sam. The young woman in front of me was having some difficulty. She had prepackaged her items in a flat rate box without realizing it and had the hopes that the postage would be less expensive if it was shipped by weight. so juggling packaging she became noticeably more agitated and apologized for being so flustered it just wasn’t what she had expected. She was moving she tried to explain…I couldn’t help but listen.  Being the next in line, she apologetically glanced my way. I smiled letting her know I wasn’t in any hurry and in that moment I really saw her. I saw the sorrow in her eyes, the troubled countenance and I knew I had to help her. The manager came out to move the line along and I stepped up to the counter. I handed him the address to send the box to, we exchanged pleasantries – my mind elsewhere. I was wondering how to intervene when the young woman started to undo all the packaging.

“Please don’t!” I exclaimed, startling them. “I’m sorry, it’s just that I would be glad to pay for that package as it is.” Her expression of shocked disbelief is still etched in my memory. Are we so hardened to a polite society?

“You don’t have to.” She stated.

“I know” I responded, “but I want to. I know what it is like to move and make things happen on a budget. I would love to help you get that package to where it needs to go.” 

She nodded quietly. “Thank you.”

I tried to make her more comfortable by sharing that we had just moved from Utah. It was a hard move. She opened up and told me her story. Her husband was a marine and was being deployed for 10 months. She had a young son and wanted to be by both sets of grandparents to help get through this difficult time. I commented that I was glad she had family to make it easier.

My attention was drawn back to my own transaction. The good-natured man helping me laughed and asked if I wanted this package to go to “Auntie Elf McKenna”. I blushed embarrassed by my childishness and said he didn’t have to put that. He said he would love to type that into the system and send it as is. I said “That would be so fun!” He printed out the receipt and handing it to me said:

“Because of your generosity, I would love to comp both packages for you today.”

It was my turned to be flustered. I went to sign the credit card slip and saw that he had zeroed out the postage. I nodded speechless for a moment then looked up into his kind face full of the spirit of Generosity that gave back two fold. Two lives were touched by the spirit of generosity that gave back to us. I said “What goes around comes around, I guess. I just didn’t expect it to come around so fast!” I feel silly now having said something so trite. I thanked him and gave this young woman a spontaneous hug and said “Have a Merry Christmas! You can do this.” I left quickly, humbled at being the sudden recipient of such generosity. I sat in my car as tears streamed down my face that strangers came together in a post and package and lives were touch by the true meaning of Christmas.

I thought about that young woman. We often thank our service men for their service to our country. Today, I would like to thank the young wives and mothers they leave behind to raise their children and keep their homes and continue on without them.  Your courage is just as admirable. Your sacrifice accepted. Merry Christmas to you. May God grant you peace.

The Gift That Is You

I didn’t think it was too much to ask to try and bring the family together as we decorated the tree. We had spent a lovely evening together a few nights before picking out the perfect tree at Mikes Farm. Now it stood in its stand meticulously placed in the sitting room and awaiting that rare time that the family could all be together to decorate. I looked at the tree and could feel its anticipation at being beautifully dressed in the spirit of the season. It’s what this tree was born to do. Raised on a Christmas tree farm, all it knew was that some day it would fulfill the measure of its creation by celebrating the birth of Christ with a family. And we had chosen it. But for some reason, I was finding this task very difficult to do. It was Sunday evening and everyone was vegging out with all their electronic devices. The house was quiet. There was no small talk or chatter just the occasional clicking of a keyboard. I turned on the Christmas music. It got turned off because it was too loud. Wait a minute, I’m the parent here, “Blast that music and bring in some Christmas cheer!” I sent the littlest one full of excitement to gather his brothers and I recruited the twins to help string the lights. They were full of resentment at being pulled away from free time and snapping at each other. Neither could do right by each other. One wanted the cords hidden and the lights closer to the trunk and the other just wanted to make the only strand of working lights to make it to the top. “What is the point of a tree anyway? How did this all start?” one asked. “How do you not know?” I wondered.

 I still hadn’t managed to gather everybody. My youngest pointed out that I hadn’t given the command for the tree to be decorated yet. So I made a command that it was mandatory that all be present for the decorating of the tree. My 14 year old sulked in and slouched down on the couch- headphones still blasting in his ears. My oldest huffed and puffed and made it clear he was being inconvenienced and he didn’t feel it was necessary for him to help as he was sure I would be able to do just fine without him. My husband didn’t even try. I doggedly kept trying. Handing ornaments to each child to hang they realized it was going to take forever. Suddenly, the attitude changed to “Well! The faster we get this done, the faster we can get out of here”. Before I knew it, every ornament and string of ribbon was on the tree, in some places literally thrown on. They had not been hung with delight and care, but with reckless abandon and insensitivity. Ribbons hung gaudily, ornaments and fallen through to the floor and left, the front hung heavy with ornaments and the back bare. This was not beautiful. This did not bring joy. I looked around at my boys and no one but my littlest was left. I felt such disappointment. How did they not know how important this was to me? How had I not taught them over the years so they would know? How was this not a joy in their life?

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I sat there stunned. One of the twins came in, saw me looking miserably alone and quickly pulled up a YouTube video of silly cats. Here mom, you look like you need some cheering up. I couldn’t even look at the silly video. I turned it off and handed him back the tablet. “All I wanted was the gift that was you.”

I thought about those words for the remainder of the day. They are still tossing about in my mind. The depth of that little concept. The Gift That Is You. They mull around in my mind trying to be profound. Trying to find the right words to explain the feeling they invoke. Can you feel it too? The Gift That is You. What do you give of yourself to others? To your family especially. Do you give your very best self to them as if you were a beautiful present to unwrap and discover? A conversation, a smile, a moment of time. We have many roles we play in so many lives. Your co-workers, your social contacts, the people you interact with outside of your family, your church calling, the youth you serve, or your community. They get your best self. And then you come home and you “vegg out” as we call it. The chime of your phone is immediately responded to whether it be a text, a facebook msg, or email. You give them a polite answer or a witty comeback as the occasion calls for. As I look around at my family, I realized this occasion called for your best self to be given to your family. And we weren’t in the habit of doing just that. Do you find, as I did in mine, that suddenly the ones you love the very most get what is left over at the end of the day? Eww. Who wants leftover veggies? 

God gave us our wonderful families. He created each of us with perfect intent. Filled us with wonderful uniqueness and put us together as families to love and to celebrate the gift that is you. That’s all I wanted. I wanted a memory made that was filled with laughter, polite answers and witty comebacks as the occasions called for. I didn’t want the electronics to chime, I wanted Christmas music. I wanted to experience the gift that was each of my children gathered around me to create a lovely home filled with the joy of the season. Well, they will never learn if they are not taught! So I came up with a plan. I set aside my “feel sorry for me attitude” and changed it to a determination to turn this experience into a learning experience for my extraordinary youth. I chuckle now even as I remember it. 

First, unplug! Even as I say that, my boys looking at me in confusion, I realize how outdated that sounds because we don’t have to unplug anymore. It’s power off as everything is wireless. So power off we did. 

Second, I made dinner. Boys are more responsive with a full tummy. Fact.

Third, everyone sat around the table in the dining room. It’s hard to respond with a mouth full as mom poured her heart out – in a matter of fact way of course. I didn’t want a pity party. I wanted change. 

I started with the history of the Christmas tree, how it was chosen as a symbol for eternal life because of it’s evergreen needles that never give up hope, but continue through all seasons of life. It was first called “The Tree of Life” or the “Paradise Tree”. I talked about the importance of that symbolism and Lehi’s dream of the “Tree of LIfe” and the interpretation of the tree as the Love of God and how it is referred to as the greatest gift of all gifts. Through god’s love for us we receive the atonement. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” It is through Jesus Christ that we are able to receive the gift of eternal life. The Christmas tree is not just a decorating activity left up to mom so we can put presents under it and Santa can come. The Christmas tree suddenly took on more meaning. I saw the light of understanding awaken in my boys and used the timing to point to our tree and ask how we received this gift? With gratitude shown by the utmost care and appreciation for this symbol that reminds us of Christ’s gift to us? 

I explained that the Christmas decorations should always have a meaning, something that we can use to remember the true meaning of Christmas. I issued a challenge. They were to find or create an ornament that had a special meaning and the next day for family night we would place those ornaments with care upon our tree. I gave an example: I picked a red ornament and fastened it with a white ornament. The red represents the blood of Christ. The white – purity. It is through the atonement that we are made pure again. “And though my sins be red as scarlet, let them be as white as snow”. 

Finally, we talked about giving The Gift That Is You. How much I just wanted to enjoy each member of my family. A little time spent with them. This season, placed above all earthly gifts that could be given. Our gift to each other will be that of our very best self. As I looked at all my most precious gifts, I felt so much love and gratitude for my abundance. “All I ever wanted”, I said, “Is the Gift That is You.”

Family night was a joy. To my delight, I didn’t have to beg to be all gathered in. My boys came willing and even looking forward to it. For they had taken my challenge to heart and came ready with their ornaments!

My oldest purposely chose my most unfavorite ornament ever. I really dislike pink Christmas ornaments, but now this one is set forever as a special ornament on our tree. He told the story of The Other Wiseman by Henry Van Dyke. This ornament represents the last pearl given in service to another. “When ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.  http://www.classicreader.com/book/593/1/

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Next, came the story of the woman who had the faith to touch the hem of Christ’s robe and be healed. The gold fabric ribbon was chosen to represent Christ’s robe and faith. http://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/jesus-heals-a-woman-of-faith?lang=eng

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A white dove was chosen to represent the gift of the Holy Ghost. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/dove-sign-of-the?lang=eng#

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A disco ball was chosen to represent my family and the traditions they have that will be carried on even though we are far away.

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Three silver balls were put together to represent the Godhead: God the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the holy ghost. If you look into the silver ball you will see your reflection, just as the qualities and attributes of Christ should be reflected in us.

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And finally, my little one, I realized I hadn’t helped him prepare one to present! But I shouldn’t have worried he went to the tree where there was already placed an ornament we had made of all our favorite shells we had collected at the beach. He told his family how in homeschool he was learning about the creation and on the fifth day god created the birds of the air and he pointed to the birds he had put on the tree and the fish and life in the ocean. My heart was full! I had learned so much about each of them, their insights and testimonies. What a beautiful gift!

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 We watched the Christmas Devotional broadcast from Temple Square http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/christmas-devotional/2013/12?lang=eng&vid=2912344387001 and gave each other our best selves as together we celebrated Christ.

With an eye single to the glory of God!

With an eye single to the glory of God!

I love when my 5 yr old arranges the nativity. It is not arranged to show the best display of each figure, or artistically pleasing to the eye. It is arrange so that every figure is turned towards Christ. From the cattle to the shepherds and the wisemen, all are gathered in and focused on Christ. As it should be. Let us put aside the distractions that can come with the season. Gather your families close and keep your eye single to the glory of God this CHRISTmas.

Six White Shirts

I waved happily as I watched my husband lead five worthy priesthood holders out the door for the General Priesthood session of Conference. Getting six white shirts out the door on time is no easy feat, but I have had practice. Between conference sessions today, I read media about women advocating to hold the priesthood and talk of women marching to the conference center during the priesthood session. It left me feeling sad that the women who support this don’t see the big, beautiful picture of the Lords plan and place for women. I have a divine role to play in my marriage with a worthy priesthood holder and our partnership with God. I created life! Out of my womb, God breathed life into six beautiful sons who chose me to call “Mother”. They are mine to nourish and to sustain life, to love and cherish, to teach and to counsel, to protect and shield; and then to make strong and immovable so they can stand in this world but not of this world. I have been humbled time and again as God has shown his trust in me, his patience as I learn and then teach His children.

I have watched them, as Nephi, grow in stature and favor with God. I have watched them become worthy to receive the blessings of the priesthood. My oldest just received the Melchizedek priesthood and ordained an Elder. My twins are Priests in the Aaronic priesthood. They were able to bless and prepare the sacrament for us last sunday. What a sacred experience that was. My fourteen year old will be ordained a Teacher next sunday and my twelve year old just received the Aaronic priesthood and ordained a Deacon. It has been a full month of priesthood blessings and my heart overflows. There is no joy comparable to seeing my white shirts fill up an entire big pew at church. Nor any greater honor than to have five righteous priesthood holders honoring their mother.

Do I feel left out and excluded from tonights priesthood meeting? Absolutely not! I had my turn last Saturday at the Relief Society meeting. Besides,  I was thinking how glad I am for the rest and peace this evening will give me knowing my priesthood holders are in good hands being taught and inspired by prophets of God. I get to stay at home, relax, bake some chocolate cookies …and then a little voice, that of my youngest son, just five years old. “Mom, what does the priesthood do? What are the boys doing at the meeting they are going to?” I felt the spirit of the Lord so strong, I had tears instantly well up in my eyes.

“Mother, teach me.”  Is there a greater calling?

I felt the power of Elder Christofferson talk today about the influence of good women. I felt the love of my Heavenly Father so strong it brought me to my knees in gratitude that I have so much priesthood in my life and how it blesses me continually. I can bear testimony to Sister Stephens talk that we need each other, both sons and daughters, fulfilling their individual roles to create a strong family unit.

“Come, my little one,” I said, “Lets talk about the priesthood and the power you will have one day to act in God’s name.”

And the words “I will not be weary… for I know I am laying the foundation of God” settled firmly into my  mind.

Sisters, lets pray tonight for those women who have yet to see this big beautiful plan God has for us. Let’s pray for our men that they may be lifted up to fulfill their priesthood in the challenges of today’s world. Let’s pray for strength that we can continue to be the “source of moral power” which power comes from God.

And when our priesthood holders come home tonight, honor them and they will thank you for the divine role you play in their life.

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Now, how about those chocolate chip cookies?

(PS. Licking the Cookie dough off of the spoon T said “This is delightful goodness that an angel put on the spoon!)