Thursday, December 18, 2008

"The Reason For The Season"


Well, this week has definitely been a week of ups and downs. Had a great first couple of days at the nativity. On the first night, I ran the missionary stand and answered people's questions, along with singing in a missionary quartet. On the second night, I was able to play the part of one of the shepherds and had a wonderful time. Over the past few days, I had been having some sharp shooting pains on the left side of my head, and some pimple-like things had been growing too. I thought that they were just pimples. But, when it started to grow into the side of my scalp, I panicked and went to the doctors on Saturday. It was there that the doctor looked at me funny, told me it was too late, and said that I should have seen him earlier. Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I have SHINGLES! The doctor said that it's caused by stress, and it is contagious, since it's in the same family as chicken pox, so I've pretty much have had to spend most of the week cooped up in our apartment. I'll be going back to the doctor's tomorrow to see how things are. I wasn't able to go to the nativity on Saturday, nor was I able to go to Church on Sunday. Elder Tuckfield and Elder Wright went to Church on Sunday, including my home ward's PEC meeting. Unfortunately, someone mentioned that I had been stressed by my companion, and to pray for me, so that didn't work out so well. I've tried to apologize but to no avail. I can understand his situation. Talked to President Skelton about it and he said that he'll work something out soon. The ward that, he sisters have been wonderful, bringing lunch and dinner for the past few days! Elder Taiamoni is the new assistant to the President, so Elder Tuckfield's new companion is Elder Richards from American Fork, Utah. Well, enough of that, on to more joyful things, Christmas!

Well, my Christmas message is centered on Matthew 26:52-54, where one of the apostles cuts of the ear of a man named Malchus, who was part of the group who arrested Jesus that fateful night in the garden of Gethsemane. Christ rebuked his disciple, and said "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"

To me, it seems clear that the Savior had all power to fight off the men who were there to arrest him, and who would eventually scourge and crucify Him. But, the Lord knew that the salvation of mankind rested on His shoulders, that only through Him and by Him, could mankind then be saved. I am so grateful for His love, His willingness to lay down His life for us. We all celebrate Christmas because of the joy it brings to us, for the love that we have in our families, the exchange of presents, and of course, the birth of our Savior. His birth was the beginning of His ministry, His life starting so that it would end in crucifixion, that all the ends might be fulfilled. I often wonder how the Savior could ever pay so great a price for us. I can't comprehend it. And so, instead of doing that, I am grateful to celebrate his birth, His birth that we might all live again.

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi was asked by an angel if he knew and understood "the condescension of God." Nephi's wonderful reply was, ".... I know that he loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." That reply has always brought peace to my heart. As I have come to understand that scripture just a little bit more, I find comfort and joy in the fact that my Heavenly Father loves me, and knows me personally, and who loves me so much. I hope that we will all be able to remember our Heavenly Father and His Son at this wonderful time, knowing that Christ loves us, that He made the sacrifice that had to be, and whose birth we now celebrate. I am so grateful to be able to spread this message of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in Him, we truly can find, the reason for the season.

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