Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

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I had an interesting experience after my last blog post. I had an anonymous commenter who chose to make sarcastic judgments about my intent and my character because she was seemingly offended by what she perceived to be my heartless judgment of others.

She was upset because she thought I was judging the two women whose conversation I used to help illustrate a point about our personal responsibility for our own happiness. She declared that I was judging them without knowing their intent or their backstories or their hearts. She essentially thought I was drawing mean conclusions without knowing the entire story.

I attempted to explain my actual intent, which only seemed to enrage her further. In the end, I ended up erasing our dialogue and turning off comments on my blog for awhile. I was truthfully kind of perturbed that someone would hide behind internet anonymity and insult me without knowing my intent or my backstory or my heart. The irony of the situation seemed to be completely lost on her.

But as annoyed as I initially was, the situation has had me thinking quite a bit about judgment.

Our society has accepted a really big lie. It is now a common belief that we cannot make judgments between right and wrong. We can't judge situations. We can't judge actions. We can't judge the things people say or do. Because to do so would be to judge them. And it might hurt their feelings to know that we disagreed with that particular choice.

I apparently can't disagree with same-sex marriage without hating homosexuals. I can't be repulsed by abortion without offending the women who think it's their right. I can't be disgusted by rape or murder or lying or cheating without it being taken as my personal condemnation of the offender. And I most certainly can't say that we're responsible for our own happiness without upsetting the masses and being declared a hypocrite.

But we absolutely can judge those things. And we should. It is our duty to draw those lines in the sand. We're supposed to stand for all that is right and good. We do that by making judgments. We make judgments every day. The Savior himself has shown us how.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.     (Moroni 7:15-16)

Judgment is not only okay, but necessary.

Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that we should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, we will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout our lives.     (True to the Faith)

We have to go back to understanding the difference between judging between right and wrong and judging or condemning an individual. To judge a person we would most definitely need a backstory. We would need to know the state of their heart and their intent. And the truth is, we won't have sufficient knowledge of those things, even about our own spouses. Ever. That's why that final judgment is left to the One who knows all.

We don't, however, need to know any of those things to make a distinction between good and evil or right and wrong. We are given the light of Christ so that we have the ability to make those judgments every second of every day.

I can stand toe to toe with an abortionist and declare that what they're doing is wrong. I can make that distinction without knowing a thing about who they are or where they've been. And I can make that distinction without judging the person and condemning them to eternal misery. That's not my job.

But it is my job to defend light and truth and all that is good in this world. It's everyone's job.

I can say that we are responsible for our happiness because God says that we are. I can say that it's not right for any of us to shift that responsibility elsewhere. And I can do it without condemning myself or condemning the two women at school that morning. I can recognize the wrongness of it every time I do it and every time someone else does it. It's called spiritual discernment and I hope I always live in such a way that I retain that ability.

All of that aside, I honestly do try to be kind and compassionate. I don't feel like I've ever used my blog to condemn anyone or to make them feel badly about themselves. If I have ever done that I sincerely apologize  and would hope that someone would tell me so kindly. As I told that commenter, I write this blog in the hopes that people will leave here uplifted, even if it's simply because they could laugh at my kids' antics.

Her only response was "Heaven help anyone you're trying to uplift." My only reply is this: If you sincerely feel that way, please don't read my blog. I'm serious. Please, don't. I don't aim to make anybody feel like a lesser version of themselves. I am full of my own faults and my intent is never to pretend like I'm not.

I will, however, not stop sharing what I know to be true. I will continue to defend what I know to be right even if it offends every person that I know and even if I can't always live up to it myself. Right is right and wrong is wrong and there's nothing about that that's meant to be offensive.

Note:Blog comments have been enabled once again. I sincerely do care about what others have to say, even when they don't agree with me. I do like for my blog to be an uplifting place, however, and therefore comments containing vulgarity and profanity will not be published. I would also prefer an absence of rude sarcasm, whether you agree with me or not, but as one of my friends said, it says more about you than it does about me, so those comments will be still be allowed through unless they contain one of the aforementioned "forbiddens." 

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Lying about it would be futile. The reality is that I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about my children. I put a lot of mental, emotional, and spiritual effort into them. I worry over them, I pray for them, and I try to anticipate problems. I do my best to teach them the principles of courage and strength, obedience and faith.

Lately, as I've watched the state of this country spiraling out of control at an ever increasing rate I've darn near had a panic attack because of them. The political chaos, the rapid moral decline, and the attacks on our God-given freedoms leave me feeling almost desperately afraid when I focus on them too much.  And by too much I mean any longer than 3 minutes.

I've sat around wondering how my children are going to survive it. I've prayed for answers on how to help them survive it.

I didn't discover a magical solution, but I did remember a time-tested one.

There's so much more going on with a tree than what we see on the surface. The healthiest trees have root systems underneath the ground that are larger than what is visible. These trees have extensive and efficient tangles of roots that not only nourish them, but that also help all that is visible to withstand the blows. Trees make sure that there is the same amount of work, if not more, going on underneath the surface.

About 65 years before Christ, Helaman led an army of young, teenage boys to battle in defense of Captain Moroni's Title of Liberty. That Title of Liberty was flown throughout the land. It said, "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." This battle had raged on for years when these young boys joined the fight.

But even a man as faithful as Helaman was nervous about these boys. He didn't want to lose any of them in battle. However, his observation of them helped quench some of his fears. "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

When the Lamanites surrendered as prisoners of war, Helaman went to count how many of those 2,000 boys he had lost."But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war."

History has taught me two incredible lessons. First is that even amidst incredible fear, deep roots of faith instill courage and hope. The faith of these boys didn't grant them some invisible force field that guaranteed their protection. But what their faith did do was give them the courage to fight. It gave them the courage to lose because truthfully, they knew that even had they lost that battle, they were still winning an even greater one. Their motivation to fight was greater than any possible outcome.

The second thing I've learned that has planted itself firmly in my heart is the incredible power of a faithful mother.

I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother. -Boyd K. Packer

So to mothers and fathers everywhere: Hang onto hope. We are not helpless. We don't have to sit idly by while a decaying world steals our children. We have power; power granted to us from on high; power to lift and power to save. The conversations and the prayers and the scriptures that are being shared in our homes will do more to combat the insanity that is occurring every day than any amount of worrying ever will. Be courageous. Be faithful. Make sure you leave no question in the hearts of your children about the reality of your faith or the power of the Savior of mankind to save. Stand on the winning side, regardless of how small that side becomes. Victory is certain. Just make sure there is more good happening underneath the surface than storm raging up above.

 

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It's taken me days to write this post, not necessarily because I haven't had time to finish it, but because my feelings have been raw and my mind restless.

WRDD A couple of days ago was World Rare Disease Day (WRDD). Rare diseases touch so many lives. And these diseases seem to be multiplying at an ever increasing rate. I haven't heard of most of them, nor can I attempt to pronounce their names.

I'd never even heard of PLEVA (Pityriasis Lichenoides et Varioliformis Acuta) until my son woke up one day, suddenly in its grasp. And while WRDD is meant to inspire and raise awareness for so many of this Earth's strongest warriors, it also left me feeling somewhat melancholy. It left me thinking for too long about the disease that has taken up residence in my sweet son. The fact that there is even a need for such a day sprinkles salt into an already gaping wound.

Prior to the 28th I'd already been obsessively thinking about Tanner's disease and his future more than I would care to admit.

Thanks to a dear friend of mine that connected us, I am suddenly in contact with another mother of a child with PLEVA. We chit chatted via social media about this horrible disease. For the first time since Tanner's diagnosis I felt like we weren't silently fighting this battle alone.  We were suddenly part of a team, however small it may be, fighting this beast together. It was uplifting.

But it was also sobering. This little girl has been fighting for a year longer than Tanner and she's right in the thick of it.  Tanner's in the middle of a slight reprieve and it's been easier to ignore for a little while. This little girl even sees the same doctor at Seattle Children's. The scariest part is that her current reality is a look into our most likely future.

The rosy picture painted by our doctor was most likely wishful thinking. In the event that Tanner never has another full blown flare, that might be how our future will look. She was probably being hopeful and extending that hope to us.

When I checked him the other day he had 11 spots in various stages. If we get to 20 active spots he starts chemotherapy. It's the only time in my life I've ever been truly frightened by numbers.

This sweet, little girl has been on chemotherapy for 17 months already. And she was just barely able to successfully lower the dose for the first time. And yes, it's a lower dose than what a cancer patient would be administered so she still has all of her hair, but she gets really sick and exhausted and had to be pulled from school. She receives monthly cancer screenings because the risk of mutation is higher. Listening to this sweet mother explain her daughter's situation to me opened up every fear that use to overcome my thoughts. I felt my hope waning. Realistically, this will be our life.  This will be Tanner's life.

I am not without hope. I have hope in the Savior of mankind. I trust that all things work for our ultimate good and that things are as they should be. But my humanity and my motherhood have no problem screaming at the top of their lungs that this whole situation is a far cry from fair. It's humbling to submit my will to God when this avenue is so contrary to everything that I want for Tanner. I am certain that my Father in Heaven and I have the same end result in mind when it comes to our son and I am even more certain that He knows better than I the best route to get us there. But in my weakness I am incredibly afraid of the path He's chosen.

On days like World Rare Disease Day, days where I don't want to close my eyes for fear of my own thoughts . . . on those days I humbly have to acknowledge that there are powers in force far beyond my capacity to control. I humbly declare that God loves my son more than I do and He is fully aware of our needs during this life's journey. He is conscious of that feeling of fear that lingers just underneath the surface of my every day life and never goes away. He is keenly aware of all of us and in that I find peace.

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I'm not a very eloquent speaker, especially when the words are coming from my heart and not my mind. But those words that are written all over my heart flow from my hands with complete ease. It's always been this way. So sometimes I don't speak up when I should. And sometimes I'm not so great at defending and sharing the truth.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself guilty of both. I sat in sacrament meeting (our church's congregational meeting where we also partake of the sacrament) listening to people bear testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew I should get up. I knew I had something important to share. But I didn't do it.

I'm hoping to redeem myself today.

More than fifteen years ago I went through one of the hardest times of my life. One of my dearest friends was in a fatal car accident. The experience shook me to the core, both emotionally and spiritually. And I'm ashamed to say it, but I ran. I ran away from everything that I knew to be true. I turned my back on my Savior and the principles of the gospel. It was more than I could handle.

I spent a couple of miserable years living my life that way, but through God's loving mercy I found my way back. And not only did I find my way back, but I did it with a much deeper understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the plan of our loving Father in Heaven. My foundation was solid. And I've been unshakable ever since.

But recently I found myself in that place again. The details are very different, but the feeling of despair was the same. I felt my spiritual knees buckle and I knew I couldn't stay on my feet. I had done all I'd been asked and I knew I couldn't give one more thing. I'd reached my limit. My strength was gone. I felt myself giving up. I decided I was going to turn my back and run.

The difference this time was that I could hear how crazy I sounded. Even as I uttered my feelings of despair out loud I knew it wasn't right, but I couldn't shake it. Very thankfully, I had the sense to inform my Father in Heaven this time. Our relationship is such that I speak with Him frequently and my natural reaction was to tell Him every detail of the pathetic situation I found myself in.

So I did. I cried. I begged. I asked Him where my miracle was. I told Him that I didn't have the strength to do one more thing . . . whether He was the one asking or not. I told Him I was done.

He responded almost instantly as a scripture flashed into my mind. " . . . peace be unto they soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high . . . "

Well, sure. But those words were directed to Joseph Smith. THE prophet of the restoration of the gospel. He was special. He was stronger. 

Essentially I ignored the direction. I went about my business as usual, but with a feeling of desperation. I could see God's hand leading and helping everyone around me. But I couldn't see His hand extended to me. That scripture kept coming back to my mind and finally, almost screaming to myself, all of the despair came pouring out.

Is that supposed to make me feel better!? Joseph never got a reprieve. Not in this life anyway. His "small" moment lasted all of his shortened life. I can't do that. I'm at my limit. You're asking me to do more than I'm capable. I'm NOT strong enough.

My loving Father in Heaven answered instantly again on my behalf. Firm words came into my mind. Yes, you are! Hang on. Help is on the way.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

I don't know if any of you have ever passed out. It's only happened to me once, but as I was about to go down, I remember someone grabbing me underneath my arms and holding me up before all went black. I felt that way again. It was almost as if I was literally being held up as my spiritual knees buckled. I was strengthened. My situation had not changed, but my capacity to endure it had suddenly increased because I had an extra set of hands lending support. I felt a small glimmer of hope. It was real.

Look, I know that everyone tells you that God won't give you more than you can handle, but they're mistaken. He absolutely does. He has to. It's the only way He can help us to realize our need for His strength and mercy. It's the only possible way for us to learn how to rely on Him instead of on our own limited capability to endure the trials of this life.

We will absolutely be pushed until we break, whether once or multiple times. And it's at that breaking point that we make a decision. We decide whether we're going to run or whether we're going to let the Savior of mankind lift us up. If we can muster up even enough faith to shout at our loving Father in Heaven, telling Him we can't make it, telling Him that we feel ourselves quitting, help is on the way.

I bear my humble witness that you will be lifted in your times of direst need. These times of desperation are designed to reveal the loving power of God. They're there to bring light to the perfect Atonement of our perfect Brother. These times come to help us understand that we need Him. They're there to show us our weakness . . . and then to show us our strength when yoked with His mighty hands.

So if today is that day for you, the day you're certain you're going to drown, please trust me when I tell you to reach out your hand. Even if you can't see through the pain or the haze to know that someone is there waiting to grab it. Just reach out your hand. Even if you think it's the last thing you'll ever be capable of doing. And then feel free to cry tears of joy when you realize that the weight has lessened because someone else is helping to carry that load.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is an awe-inspiring reality, His gospel the power of God unto salvation. Trust in Him. And hang on for help is most surely always on the way.

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Jesus Christ Advent Calendar I love advent calendars almost as much as I love Christmas. One of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions was putting the little ornaments on our advent calendar. It served to feed my excitement almost to a frenzy and I don't regret it. In fact, I want the same thing for my own children.

The magic of Christmas is love and giving. It manifests itself in kind deeds, the excitement of little children (and adults, if your adult people are anything like me), and the warmth of the knowledge of the Savior of mankind. This is Christmas.

I wanted to find some way to include my testimony of Jesus Christ into our daily magic. I want my children to know as surely as I do that the babe from Bethlehem grew into the man that would fulfill His Godly mission and atone for their sins. I want them to hear those scriptures as often as they hear jingle bells.

I ran across two different blogs whose authors shared this same vision. I used a little bit of this one and a little bit of that one and then incorporated some changes and ideas of my own. I love the way it turned out. I'm going to try my hand at a second one and play with different background colors because my little sister wants one too and I'm just that nice. And maybe I'll figure out a way to be successful at Mod Podge
before I'm done . . . or not, in which case I'll switch to spray paint.

I wanted my calendar to include daily scriptures and so I first decided which pictures I wanted to use and their accompanying scriptures. I know that many of my readers are not LDS, but I am, so if you're feeling a little confused by some of the references it's because they can be found in The Book of Mormon. I ordered 3x4 prints from Deseret Book and then cut them down to just slightly smaller than 3x3" to fit on my squares. More on that later.

  1. Journey To Bethlehem by Joseph Brickey: Luke 1:26-28, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-5
  2. His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful by Simon Dewey: Luke 2:6-20
  3. Be It Unto Me by Liz Lemon Swindle: 1 Nephi 11:13-20
  4. For Unto Us A Child Is Born by Simon Dewey: Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:21-35
  5. In Favor With God by Simon Dewey: Matthew 2, Luke 2:40
  6. Growing In Wisdom by Simon Dewey: Luke 2:41-52
  7. Light And Truth by Simon Dewey: Matthew 13:54-57
  8. To Fulfill All Righteousness by Simon Dewey: Matthew 3:13-17
  9. Seeking The One by Liz Lemon Swindle: John 10:14, Luke 15:3-5
  10. Peace, Be Still by Simon Dewey: Mark 4:35-41
  11. Living Water by Simon Dewey: John 4:6-14, John 6:35
  12. Fishers of Men by Simon Dewey: Matthew 4:18-20
  13. The Better Part by Simon Dewey: Luke 10:38-42
  14. From Darkness To Light by Simon Dewey: John 9:1-7, John 12:46
  15. Led By The Spirit by Simon Dewey: Luke 4:1-8
  16. In Humility by Simon Dewey: John 13:4-5 & 12-17
  17. The Last Supper by Simon Dewey: Matthew 26:20-30
  18. Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46, Mosiah 3:7
  19. Behold The Man by Simon Dewey: John 18 & 19, Mosiah 3:8-9
  20. Why Weepest Thou by Simon Dewey: John 20:1-17, Mosiah 3:10, D&C 76:22-24
  21. That Ye May Know by Simon Dewey: 3 Nephi 11:1-17
  22. Jesus Blesses The Children by Del Parsons: 3 Nephi 17:21-24
  23. Let Him Ask In Faith by Simon Dewey: Joseph Smith History 1:11-17
  24. The Second Coming: Acts 1:11, D&C 29:10-11
  25. Prince of Peace by Liz Lemon Swindle: 2 Nephi 25:26

I cut my board from 3/8" plywood. My handy husband cut it down to a 19x24" size for me. He also used a 2x4 to cut the 25 3x3" squares to 1/8" thick. They ended up not being quite uniform in thickness and I actually prefer that. I painted the edges of the little squares red.

advent calendar project 2 After that I cut down the pictures of Christ and the scrapbook paper that I'd chosen for the other side to 2 7/8 x 2 7/8" sizes. This allowed a little bit of the red to show and also ensured that I wouldn't have to repair any of the cuts.

advent calendar project 3

I mod podged the paper and the images to their rightful sides (on separate days). I put a layer of mod podge underneath and then over the top. I didn't put the top layer on the scrapbook paper sides until I had adhered the vinyl numbers (which were cut to be about 1x1"). I also used a brown ink pad on the edges of the scrapbook paper sides to add contrast and give them kind of an aged look . . . a brilliant idea from a friend of mine who is far craftier than I will ever be. She also prints my vinyl for me. I should probably just pay her to do these projects for me. It'd be better for my blood pressure.

advent calendar project 4

advent calendar project 5 I mod podged brick red scrapbook paper to the base board. That was a stinking disaster. I'll just be honest. It took one redo and then was still so bad that I tossed it in my room and vowed to just spray paint the other side the color I wanted when I was no longer mad. Well, it magically fixed itself as it sat in my room and the majority of the bubbles laid flat. I'm not going to promise that this sort of miracle will happen to you, however, because I refuse to make false claims . . . especially where mod podge is concerned.

I sanded down the edges of that board and the paper just to give it a feathery look. Then I used antiquing gel mixed with water and rubbed it where I had sanded. It added a little bit of contrast and darkened the edges (another brilliant idea from my friend).

advent calendar project 8 I mod podged on a couple of contrasting sheets for my header that my sister-in-law helped me choose because she's way craftier than me also. I'm pretty sure everyone is, but I try. Then I adhered my vinyl lettering to that and mod podged a final layer over the top. The edges on my headers were also given that aged look on the edges by using the brown ink pad.

advent calendar project 6 I marked the spot on each square where they'd need to be drilled in order to hang on the nails. I centered them and went about 1/4" down from the top.

advent calendar project 7

My handy dandy husband drilled the holes in my little squares for me. That was only semi disastrous. You have to wait to drill the holes until you've mod podged everything on both sides of your squares. I don't think there's any way around it. The drill bits go through just fine, but because the paper is firm from all of that special glue, pieces tended to rip or not come all the way off. I had to take a wire brush to the insides of the holes to at least partially clean them out. It was some work, but it turned out fine.

Then I laid out the squares where I wanted them to hang and hammered the nails into my board. Underneath the little squares is where I placed the scriptures. I was able to find Avery adhesive labels in a 2x2" size and a Kraft brown color. I printed the applicable scriptures for each square and then stuck them underneath their appropriate square. You can't see them except when you go to flip the square from the date to the image of Christ.

advent calendar project 9

Once those stickers were on. I used Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer
on the base. I probably could've used the sealer on each square also, but I didn't and am not sure it's necessary yet. The sealer keeps the mod podge from remaining so tacky even when it's dry. Hopefully it will keep the squares from sticking to it during storage. If not, then I guess I'll use the sealer on them too.

Anyway, I was so excited to be done! And I think it turned out great! I'm excited to try some other color combos as well. Although don't hold your breath for those just yet. I intended to be done with this a month ago so we could use it beginning December 1st. That obviously didn't happen. Sometimes I get caught up in a million different projects and things don't go exactly how I plan, but I finished this nonetheless.

advent calendar project 1 Enjoy! And hey, if you do a similar project, share the link with me! I'd love to see what you come up with (even if it's way better than mine . . . I won't even be mad for keeps).

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Believe in the Miracle There's a lot to feel hopeless about. I'm not going to deny it. The world is in complete turmoil, much of which is our own doing.

I'm alarmed by the choices of groups and governments. But I'm even more anxious about the personal choices and beliefs of billions of people. Because after all, it is our personal choices and beliefs that direct our governments and any other groups to which we belong.

Good has become evil and evil has become good. We knew that in the last days this would happen. The scriptures and the voices of prophets have told us that it would. All that is right is made to look closed-minded and awful. And those things which are inherently evil, the things which are contrary to the laws of a loving God, are made to look compassionate and loving and decent.

As a society we're trying to rewrite the rules. We walk around as if the fate of the world is in our hands. We currently live under the assumption that if the laws of God don't fit into our personal plans, we can change them. If the secular law is on our side then we must be right. If the majority agrees with us, then it must be because the minority is wrong and ignorant and foolish. We somehow believe that we can lambaste our way through the decrees and expectations of the God of us all.

We can't. I can't and you can't. It's a simple truth that can't be argued away: God is the Supreme Ruler over us and the ground on which we stand. Get used to it. And while you're getting used to it, try waking up. Seriously. Wake up. The fate of the world is not in your hands.

Look around you at what's happening and really let it sink in. Do we really think that as a civilization we can ignore its Creator and come out ahead? If we can convince enough of our peers that something that we want is our right, even when God says it isn't, do we win? Can we hand over our God-given agency to corrupt governments without consequences? Think about it. That victory is temporary.

Maybe you're like me. Maybe thinking about the state of this world for too long leaves you uncomfortably anxious. Maybe you just want to grab the majority by the shoulders and shake them and make them understand just what it is that they're doing.

I feel like that a lot, but I also feel something else. I feel something that even the direst of circumstances can't take away. I feel hope.

And that hope stems from the very reason that we celebrate this Christmas season.

Jesus the Christ, the Creator and Savior of the world, can teach us a lot about hope because He is our hope. He exemplifies it, He personified it when He walked amongst us, and He literally became it when He fulfilled His atoning mission.

As I think back on His entrance into this world, I can't help but feel the warmth and hope of that miracle. I can imagine that I was there, staring in wondering awe at the sign of the birth of the King of Kings. I can understand the joy that must have been felt by those who had been waiting for that holy birth.

For a long time I couldn't imagine what the extent of my horror would be as a nation crucified the Son of God. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that so many were past feeling, that there were so many who failed to recognize in the gentle man from Nazareth truth and salvation. I couldn't understand the mockery of all that was sacred and the flippant way in which the Roman soldiers insulted and abused their own Savior. I couldn't fathom the storm the world suffered as the Heavens raged.

Now I'm an adult. With age comes wisdom, sometimes more of it than I'd like. After witnessing the last ten years I can fully understand how it happened. I've seen what happens when a civilization collectively turns their back on God. I can now fully grasp the significance of all of the tiny, little decisions that we make . . . the consequences of which are a closeness to God or a removal from Him. I can understand all of the natural disasters that we currently suffer as the Heavens rage over our refusal to follow the Lamb of God once more.

I get it. I'm awake. And it breaks my heart.

But the one thing that breaks my heart also brings peace to it. Everything is happening just as it was foretold. I've known about it my entire life, thanks to wonderful parents who are firm believers in the miracle that is Jesus the Christ. And I still know it now. I continue to spread that hope to my children and to anyone who will listen.

So at this wonderful season of the year, I want to express my gratitude for and faith in the Son of the Living God.

From the foundation of the world, a Savior was a necessary part of the plan of God. Our brother stepped forward. He willingly took the role that would cause Him unimaginable suffering and grief and He did it for us.

I can only imagine the rejoicing that occurred amongst those of us who weren't yet here and those of us who were. What a glorious day for all of mankind. That sweet baby with the humblest of beginnings, set apart by His Godly mission and the angels who heralded His coming. I rejoiced. I know I did. And His birth still causes me to rejoice today.

I find hope and peace in my Savior, Jesus Christ. He's the One, the only One, who can make all that goes wrong, right. He's the One who will come again. He's the One who is mighty to save. All that He promised and all that He said will come to pass. The fate of the world is in His hands, not ours.

So during this most wonderful time of the year, we have as much reason as we ever have to celebrate the birth of the Son of God. He is our constant hope. Believe in Him. Believe in the miracle. In it you will find the peace that will carry you through whatever may come.