Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

I thought that it was fitting that I write a blog about New Year's Resolutions. I have never been good at setting them, and when I actually do I haven't ever been good at following through with them. But recently I have discovered an interesting correlation between New Years and Christmas.

So first off, what's the point of New Year's Resolutions? Well, to change, to become a better person. I found this interesting, because as missionaries, we are always thinking about the Gospel. So in religious terms, positive change equals repentance. Repentence is literally a change in mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. If we add it all up then that means that New Year's Resolutions are a way for us to repent. So I thought it is great that New Year's is a week after Christmas.

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(This painting was done by
my Great Grandmother
Minerva Teichert)
If you go back and read my last blog, titled "The Greatest Gift of All" you can read my opinion about the meaning of Christ's life and how we can apply it in our own.  I think that the timing of these two holidays is not a coincedence. With the Christmas spirit that everyone seems to possess at this time of year, it appears that most people are looking to set resolutions that will help bring them closer to Christ. If that is your circumstance,  then I invite you to seek what the Lord would have you do in order to come closer to Him. I know that this post might not get to everyone who reads it before the new year, but it's not too late to turn to God. Repentence is real, let it change your life, and if you slip on one of your resolutions, or all of them, get up and try again. This life is a great time for us to learn and grow, and we WILL make mistakes, but that is where we gain our knowledge. Happy New Year's everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Greatest Gift of All

 The Greatest Gift of All

 This Holiday season is a wonderful time of year. I have been able to reflect and ponder over the many things I am grateful for. And one of the greatest ones has been my mission. There are so many things I have learned and changed on my mission. And there are so many more that I still really need to work on. But that is what is so great about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we can change. Man can change. The whole world looks over this, and it's very apparent to me that that is the subtle craftiness that is talked about in the scriptures. Satan does not want us to change, to become better. Because really, that is our purpose in this life. And if he can blind us from that, then he has won.

 Thankfully, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." Thankfully Christ took upon Himself all of our sins, and mistakes and weaknesses and pains, so that we can have divine means of help or strength, or the grace of God. That is why we celebrate the day of His birth in such a grand fashion.

I absolutely love Christmas, without a doubt it is my favorite Holiday. The whole Holiday season is just amazing, people are so inspired to do much more good than they normally would. But I'm not going to lie and tell you that the only reason I love Christmas is because it helps me remember Jesus Christ and what He did for me. I love Christmas for so many reasons, lights, trees, foods that only show up in December, giving and receiving presents, I love it all. And to be honest, before my mission, I rarely thought about the gift that is our Savior's life.

Of course I thought about Christ, with all the nativities and Christmas songs, and the fact that it's named CHRISTmas, it's impossible not too. But I never really thought about the importance of His life. Thankfully I have had the privilege of spending the last 17 months studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. I have come to know why He is so important, why we celebrate His life, and why millions and millions of people have turned to Him for strength and guidance.

Jesus Christ is the only person that has ever lived a perfect life, He never once gave into the temptations that so easily lead the rest of us astray. He is the perfect example, and teacher. He showed us how to live, and how to love. And the greatest expression of His love came in the form of the Atonement, when Christ suffered for all of our sins, all of our weaknesses, all of our illness and anything else that this mortal life can throw at us. He knows perfectly how each and everyone one of us feels, even in the darkest of hours. His mortal journey gives us a purpose in life. Without it, we cannot change. 

As you go through this Christmas season, with all the gifts and decorations and food, take time to ponder on the greatest of all gifts. Christ has already paid the price, and through Him we can find strength even during the toughest of times. We can find the strength to change, to become better people. In this sense, change also means to repent, and repentance is essential to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Repentance is not a sad word, when we repent, we draw nearer to God. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, and my the Lord bless you with safety and peace as we all travel to see family or friends. And for those that may even be spending Christmas alone, spend some time with Christ, get to know him.