Monday, December 12, 2011
The Long Night is O'er
A quick disclaimer: There are a lot of thoughts running through my head right now about how I want this post to be. So if it doesn't make sense, I apologize. I just hope you all get the idea of what I am trying to convey! :)
I am so very grateful for this season that we are coming up on! This is by far my favorite time of the year! From the majestic music, to the sensational smells, and to the atmosphere of the season, it is just the best time of the year! Before my mission, whenever I would hear the word Christmas, a number of thoughts and emotions would flood my brain. Of course Christ was amongst these, but I am sad to say that He wasn't at the front. The first thoughts that came to mind always involved traditions like spending time with my family, making gingerbread houses, watching the Muppet's Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve and waking up at 6 am to open presents. Obviously, none of these are bad thoughts and feelings to have at Christmas, but they also aren't the best.
At church yesterday, I learned about the word "Christmas". One of the speakers talked about the base "-mas" comes from the Old English word that means a festival or celebration. So in a very real way, Christmas is a celebration or festival for Christ! I love learning things like that--things that just make sense and are the way they should be. So thank you Brother Raney for sharing that!
Just as President Deiter F. Uchtdorf talked about in the First Presidency Christmas Devotional just over a week ago, Christ should be at the center of our celebration for Christmas. I am very grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a missionary for a number of reasons, but right now I am most grateful for the fact that it has made my view of Christmas shift from the typical commercialism to that of a view solely on Christ. Of course it has still been great to get to listen to some of the best Christmas music, but I have been trying to focus even that on Jesus Christ and that has helped so much! I am so grateful to have been, in a way, removed from the world where it is much easier to focus on Christ and not worry about what I am going to give all of my friends and family for Christmas.
I am very grateful for Christ and especially that I have been blessed to know His true restored gospel. The title for this post comes from one of our hymns, called "Hark, All Ye Nations." It is such a blessing to know that God loves us so much that He has restored the fullness of Jesus Christ's gospel in our day in age! I really like a few lines of the song which say "All now rejoice; the long night is o'er. Truth is on earth once more!" This is what we are celebrating at this time of the year! We are celebrating Jesus Christ, His life and Atonement, and also His gospel. It is the knowledge that through Christ we can be saved that makes life worthwhile. It makes the challenges worth enduring. It makes the joys more lasting. I have come to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior as well as yours through reading and studying the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and is the foundation for our religion and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!
And even though being away from my family at this time of the year has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do, there is so much comfort that comes from realigning your focus to be on Christ. This truly is His true and restored gospel and this season needs to be His season. What better present to give to our Savior than all of your time and attention? That is my gift to the Savior this year. What are you giving to the One who makes forgiveness, peace, love, and virtually everything good, possible this year for the celebration of His birth?