Sunday, December 21, 2008

Good Tidings of Great Joy

With Christmas only a few days away, I want to post about the Ultimate source of joy in my life--Jesus Christ. I don't know if all our readers share this faith in Him, but He is the source of all joy for me, so I want to share my thoughts and feelings with you here.

As I've been pondering this post the past couple weeks in my head, it occurred to me that Jesus Christ set the example in nearly all the things we've discussed on the blog. He showed us how to serve others, to develop faith, and to express gratitude. I know that if we follow the path He set while here on earth, as mapped out in the scriptures, it will lead us to joy--both in this life and in the life to come.

He also provides me joy by offering hope. Through His life, Atonement, death, and resurrection He provided a way for me to not only overcome death, but also to be with my family forever. I believe that if we live worthily we will remain united as a family unit throughout all eternity. I cannot fathom finding joy in the afterlife without my husband there by my side. My family is an amazing source of joy in this life; it makes perfect sense that our loving Heavenly Father would provide us a way to continue to abide in that same joy for all time.

This principle is especially important to me right now. My grandfather is very near to death. The thought of him not being there the next time I visit my grandma is a heartbreaking one, to say the least. However, I know that Jesus Christ provided a way for my grandpa to live forever. And I know that I will see him again one day and his body will be whole and healthy. So, even at this time of horrible pain I find immense joy in that knowledge. I am indescribably grateful to my Savior for the sacrifice He endured to make that possible. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)"

This is connected to yet another way that Jesus Christ provides me with joy. It is amazing to me that He endured all that He did on my behalf. I feel greatly aware of my many shortcomings and I know that He is also aware. And yet, He still provided a way for me to achieve these amazing blessings. Though I often forget, Jesus sends a powerful message with the gift He offers each of us--He believes in us. He has faith in me and in my ability to follow Him and endure well the challenges I face in life. He knows that I possess the ability to do all that He has asked me to do in order to be worthy of His gifts and to accomplish all that He desires me to.

In Ether 12: 27 (in the Book of Mormon), Jesus tells us, "If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I especially love the part where He says, "my grace is sufficient for all men (and women!)". I know this to be true, but I don't always remember it. I still doubt myself. I am often overwhelmed by this blog, for example. I believe that this blog is a part of what the Lord wants me to do in this life. But when I forget and think that I have to do it all by myself, I just want to curl up and cry. I want to write helpful, applicable things here. But I don't profess to be more capable of that than the next person. So, when I remember to be humble and turn to Him in prayer, He reminds me that this is indeed His work, and He is blessing me with the opportunity to assist. And He lives up to His promise to make up the difference for all that I lack.

I'm using the blog as my example, but that is a true principle in every aspect of my life. He completes my efforts as a wife and a mom and a friend and everything else. If I were to try to accomplish everything on my own, I cannot imagine succeeding very often. More importantly, I can't imagine finding the peace and hope necessary to experience joy in much or any of it.

So, as I ponder the meaning and reason behind Christmas, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love for my Savior Jesus Christ. Suddenly, all the words in my vocabulary seem very small. Nothing can convey what I feel when I ponder His love and His mercy on my behalf. And I will strive this upcoming year to draw ever nearer to Him because I know that He is the Source of true and abiding joy.

Merry Christmas!


Linda said...

You've expressed many of my thoughts and feelings simply and eloquently and I thank you very much. I love everything about Christmas. This year has been very very different in almost every way, and still I have felt the the joy and magic of Christmas. I think this is because our celebration is based on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I've been thinking a lot about Jesus being our light. Just like a room is dark until we turn on a light or open the blinds to let the sun shine in, we are blessed by opening our hearts and letting the Son light our way. This is the one sure and constant source of joy in life. I am so grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

Jen said...

Cheryl -- Thank you for your beautiful testimony. You have written many things that I struggle with words to express.

I had to catch up with the blog and this should have been the first thing that I read, rather than the last.

Truly, in the Savior and His gospel is found the solution to all our troubles, anxieties, and weaknesses.