It's December 26th and life is just wonderful!
The highlight of the Holiday yesterday was definitely being able to Skype my family! I love and miss them so much! The hard part about having a family as amazing as mine is that they are really hard to be away from. I love my family and I am so glad that I can live with them forever! Serving a mission is just a small sacrifice to help others be able to live with their families forever.
The Mesa Arizona Christmas Lights Concert went so well last night. Our missionary choir certainly sang with angels and I know that those who heard it were filled with the spirit.
Here are some thoughts that I had from this week!
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
I just LOVE this scripture!
The Three Pine Trees
I read a Christmas story this year about three pine trees. All three trees wanted to do and be something great when they got older. One wanted to be made into a cradle to hold and comfort a baby, one wanted to be made into a large ship to help men cross great waters, and one wanted to stay on the hill and grow so tall so that he could point everyone to God.
The first tree was made into a lowly manger instead of a cradle and was disappointed that he would never get to hold a baby. He was unhappy with his fate.
But God said "Wait, I will show you something." And He did. Christ, the son of God, the most holy and important child to ever live was born in a manger.
The little tree that had been made into a manger whispered "In all my dreams, I never thought to hold a child like this. Why, I am part of a miracle. This is better than all my planning"
The second tree was made into fishing boat that stayed near the shore. The tree was also upset with his fate. He wanted to cross great distances and discover new lands but was stuck as a fishers' boat.
Then God said "Wait, I will show you something." And He did. That fishing boat was owned by Christ's apostles. It sat in the waters while Christ told parables on the shore. It carried the apostles and the Savior and was a witness of many miracles.
"This is wonderful" the little boat whispered. "In all my dreams, I never thought to carry a person like this. Why, I am part of a miracle. This is better than all my planning"
The third tree was cut down and carried away and was so sad that he would not be able to stand tall and point others to God. Those who carried him away made him into a cross where Jesus Christ was crucified. The little cross shuddered beneath it's weight of agony and shame. But God said "Wait, I will show you something." And He did.
Then suddenly a miracle happened... the little cross heard the words
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John )
The little tree that had become a cross began to understand, and whispered "this is wonderful! I am a part of a miracle. In all my dreams I never thought to point others to God in this way. This is better than all my planning."
All three trees received their wish, but each in God's appointed time, in God's appointed way. I know that God will give us our desires too if we are willing to give our lives to Him and let him, who is the master sculptor, mold us into a masterpiece.
WHAT SHALL WE GIVE
What shall we give to the babe in the manger?
What shall we offer the child in the stall?
Incense and spices and gold with a plenty...
Are these the gifts for the king of us all?
Worldly things have great meaning to us but they are of no value to God. The wise men and shepherds gave the best they had... but what kind of gifts can we give God that are truly valuable to Him? I'd like to ask you to ponder that... what kind of gift can you give "the king of us all" that would be worthy to give Him? Are the gifts that we are giving fit for Him? I don't think that our gifts need to be anything crazy... but they do need to be sincere (service, action to change our lives for the better, repentance).
Talk to you soon!
P.S. Here are some fun pictures and what we do in Arizona for Christmas...