Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Your Own Personal Christmas Program...Merry Christmas Everyone!

Today we will be having a Christmas program. it will proceed as follows

1. Christmas poem written especially for you by Hermana Thomas

2. Christmas poem written especially not for you because it is in Spanish and will accompany the cookies we're dropping off to people. Basically only included because I'm super proud that I wrote a poem in Spanish. By Hermana Thomas

3. Words of wisdom by Hermana Wong. "Food doesn't taste as good when you don't have anyone to share it with"

3. Christmas message from Hermana Thomas

Missionary Christmas

my very first Christmas
with no hint of snow
it's fifty degrees
'stead of fifteen below

I haven't once listened
to jingle bell rock
save the horse and the sleigh
cuz we park and we walk

the extent of our gifts
are the pamphlets we bring
and the jingle of bells
are the doorbells we ring

the only rain, dear,
comes from clouds in the sky
and santa this year
will be passing us by.

there's no wrapping, no snowmen
no lit temple square
the walls where we live
remain pitifully bare

the house smells like house
and not fresh mountain pine
no décor (we're too poor)
no hung socks in a line

some may ask if I'm missing
my family at home
when I see a lit tree
if my heart starts to roam

back to presents and parties
and decking the hall
but I'm telling the truth
when I say "not at all"

for I can't miss the things
that are counted and priced
when I spend all my time
sharing teachings of Christ

and that very first Christmas
there was no hint of snow
on a calm April night
with the sky all aglow

and because of the birth
of that sweet baby boy
on a mission I bring
the glad tidings of Joy

Luke 2:10 :and the angel said unto them, fear not for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

2. Words of wisdom by Hermana Wong: "food doesn't taste as good when you don't have anyone to share it with" ......i.e. Hermana Thomas is having a hard time sharing Christmas treats. 

3. Message Yesterday, I was asked (with a whole 3 hours notice) to give a Christmas talk at a young Single Adults fireside. As already mentioned in the above poem, Christmases as a missionary are quite a bit different from those of the average Christmas celebrator. It got me thinking about "the true meaning of Christmas."

O.k. before you roll your eyes and shut off the computer, keep reading. The answer is different than you might think.

Old and young year after year have tried to tackle "the true meaning of Christmas." I think we can all agree (as songs and movies and books are constantly reinforce into our heads) that it is NOT about presents or candy or money or big red bows. But what IS it about? Some songs and movies claim that Christmas is all about "the joy of giving" or "keeping love in your heart all year round."


 While I agree that these are important themes, they completely miss the point of Christmas. They seem to miss the first syllable, which is  "Christ."

Other media (mainly church produced productions from congregations around the world,) emphasize the birth of Christ as the true meaning of Christmas. Surprisingly I also disagree that this is what we truly celebrate during this Christmas season.

While His birth was miraculous, accompanied by such grandeur as the world had never known, it is not this that we should focus on during this special time. What we are really celebrating is His life, and more specifically, His atonement. Without this, without His Atonement, what joy could his birth bring us?

Instead of focusing on the fact that He was born, we should pause and remember WHY He came into this world, and what He did for us that was so miraculous. In John 14: 6 it says

 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me."

There was LITERALLY no other way for us to be saved, which is to be able to live in the presence of God again, except that Jesus fulfilled the atonement. Without it, we would be doomed to live forever in a condition that one prophet described thus

"the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt; which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord and doth fill his breast with guilt and pain and anguish which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever" Mosiah 2:38

And not only did he save us from this miserable fate, he took upon him our infirmities and sicknesses and heartaches and trials to know exactly how to comfort us while here on earth. (Alma 7:12) So this Christmas season, I invite you to focus on WHY Christ came to earth, and give thanks for the greatest gift ever given. The Atonement.

-Hermana Thomas

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