Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011


I can hardly believe that Christmas is in one week! Christmas is in full swing here now. People have their Christmas lights up and in the city (where we go for our free day like today) parts of the streets are blocked off for booths of cool stuff to buy. And there are these gigantic figures of Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus and the three wise men and Santa Claus. Pan de Pascua is a huge Christmas treat here (fruit cake), I have eaten a little bit so far, but I anticipate that I will be eating a lot more this next week. In the ward we are having a ward talent show/devotional for Christmas. The four of us hermanas are going to sing Todos Juntos (a really simple and popular song here - its about living together in harmony), but we are going to sing it as chin people and I´m going to play the guitar. We are going to record ourselves (or rather our chins) singing and show the video at the talent show. It should be really funny...I´ll try to send the recording next week so you can see it. Also I anticipate that this week we will be talking more than usual about the birth and life of Jesus Christ, which is buenisimo! We have started asking people if we can watch a video about the birth of Jesus with them. I love it! There is something special in the air at Christmas time. It´s the spirit of Christ really. And it´s a beautiful thing. I hope you can feel it too. It´s hard to describe. It makes me want to smile at everyone and give everyone gifts!

these are the figures i was talking about. these things are big!

One of the scriptures that we often share with people at this time of year is in the Book of Mormon, Alma 7:10-16
10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
 14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
 15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
 16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me.
I like to share this scripture because it talks about the birth and life of Jesus Christ, about the purpose of His sacrifice for us. But the thing I like the most is in verses 15 and 16 talks about our part in all of this. Jesus Christ came to the earth, he lived and died for us. His sacrifice makes it possible that we can be cleansed from our inevitable sins, but in order to apply and accept His sacrifice in our lives we have to do as it says in verse 16, set aside our sins and show our willingness to repent by making a covenant with God which we do when we are baptized.

Usually in my family we make goals at the beginning of a new year, and that is when I think about rededicating myself to my goals and to be better, but this year as I have read these verses and listened to the Christmas Devotional given by the First Presidency of the Church I have thought about the great gifts we receive through Jesus Christ and what could I possibly give to Him in return. In this verses above is the answer. The greatest gift to give the Savior is to put aside your sins, repent and committ yourself to follow Him and keep His commandments. I think from this Christmas on, I have a slightly new perspective of Christmas, thinking about why Christ came to the Earth and how to accpet His atoning sacrifice and to recommit myself to repent and keep the commandments. Because that is all He asks of us...Repent and Keep the Commandments. That is what I will give the Savior this year for Christmas. What are you going to give Him?

Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace. He is the Light, the Life, and the Way. It is only through Him that we can find joy and eternal life. He lived a perfect life, and did the will of the Father in all things. I am a witness of Him; that He lives and has restored His church and Gospel on the earth once again through a living prophet. I love Him and will follow Him in all things.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas that is filled with the Spirit of Christ!

Love, Hermana Bowns

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