|My cousin's Christmas tree. I've always loved the hearts. :)|
It's Christmas time, and I am sooooooooo happy. The first Sunday of this month, I was home to participate in my family's annual kick off to the Christmas season. We have a big dinner, go caroling at a nursing home, and then watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It was absolutely wonderful -- it always is. But this year, my favorite part of the whole night happened before dinner.
My aunt usually plans some sort of message or program before we eat, and this year she asked us all to participate in reciting The Living Christ. We each got a little excerpt to memorize, and with soft music playing in the background, we said our parts. I was overwhelmed with the Spirit almost immediately. Several of us got choked up as we recited the words, and I felt the strength permeating the room with this wonderful family of mine, as our testimonies grew together. After we finished with The Living Christ, my cousin Austin sang "This is the Christ". He got so emotional at the end that he couldn't finish, so my other cousin David finished singing the song for him. It was such a special and powerful experience, to hear their testimonies combined in song that way.
I know I have been richly blessed with a family that has strong testimonies, and for a long time it was easy to rely on their testimonies rather than my own. But after many experiences I've had over the last few years, I've gained a strong testimony for myself. I know without any doubt that Jesus Christ lived and still lives. He was born in the humblest of circumstances, lived and died for me and everyone, and after 3 days was resurrected. He knows me personally - my pains, worries, successes, happiness. And He was the perfect example of a righteous life. Through Him, we can conquer death. Through Him, we can be cleansed from sin. Through Him, we can get back to our Heavenly Father and have eternal life, and live with our families forever.
I'm so thankful for this time of year, and for the fun and happiness it brings. I think it's important to sing about Jingle Bells and Santa Claus, especially as children when we can't fully comprehend the true meaning of Christmas yet. Some of my greatest childhood memories are associated with fun Christmas music. I'm thankful that I could be in LDV and participate in a concert where we sang both the fun songs and the ones about the Savior's birth. I'm thankful for a wonderful family that celebrates traditions and that we were able to kick off the Christmas season with such an important reminder. And above all, I'm thankful for the true meaning of Christmas: remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind.
One final thing -- I know this video has been all over Facebook, but I wanted to share it here too. It serves as another great reminder of the true reason we celebrate this holiday.
Merry Christmas, Friends!!