Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Week Before Christmas, Dec. 18 2016

It has been a great week for us.  Christmas concerts, Christmas music at home, patrons from Togo and new missionaries to take care of.   The highlight was attending the Church employee devotional last Tuesday morning.  Elder Nash was the concluding speaker.  I wish all of you readers could have been there to feel the spirit.  Trying to recapture for you the power of that experience is not possible, but we will try to share as much as we can.

He spoke about peace.  That is a major concept in this part of the world, where we continue to have major civil conflicts today (see recent news about Gambia , South Sudan, and the DRC) and other civil wars are still in people’s recent memory.  

Isaiah: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and his name shall be called wonderful…..the prince of peace.”  He shared the story of Helaman’s letter to Moroni from Alma 58, where Helamen and his band of 2000 stripling warriors were in dire straits.  They were outnumbered by the enemy and running so short of provisions that they feared starvation.  In our terms, they lacked resources, faced overwhelming odds, and were doomed to failure and personal destruction.  In those difficult circumstances they poured out their souls in prayer to God, and “he did speak peace unto our souls”, which gave them faith and hope for deliverance.  “And we did take courage…and thus we did go forth…”  He will do the same for us.

After the crucifixion, with the body of Christ missing from the tomb, his disciples were gathered together with the doors shut for fear of the Jews.  Christ came and stood in their midst and said, ”Peace be unto you.”

Elder Nash shared a very personal experience of visiting a hospital room of a young woman who had died suddenly of an infection, and with her family present a prayer was offered.   Light and peace came and filled the room.  After that the family was still in mourning, but they were not grieving.

He read from Matthew 11.  “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  Peace is rest to the weary, worried soul.  His yoke that we take on us is the yoke of discipleship.  We are to look to help  others, and then we will find peace for ourselves.  

And from the gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you.”   We can receive His peace even when our environment is not peaceful, even when we are struggling, even when we face great difficulties.  And His peace brings with it faith and hope and courage to move ahead in our discipleship to help others.

May you have peace this Christmas as you celebrate His birth!

 Temple patrons from French-speaking Togo staying in our building. 
Sue is in her exercise clothes. 

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