Monday, December 5, 2016

Nativity Countdown #5

Here's another one I made myself. It's from a little cross-stitch kit I picked up one year during the after-Christmas clearance sales. I imagine the original plan was to make more using supplies I had available at home. Someday I may still do that, but it hasn't happened yet.

The Savior was meek and humble, even though he had every reason to be arrogant and proud. As I look at this little ornament, I am reminded of the importance of increasing my own meekness and humility, two Christ-like attributes that aren't necessarily prevalent in today's society.

I remember really liking this Ensign article on the subject, which included this conclusion:

"We cannot simply repent of being weak—nor does weakness itself make us unclean. We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we accept our state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God. When Moroni fretted about the weakness of his writing, God did not tell him to repent. Instead, the Lord taught him to be humble and to have faith in Christ. As we are meek and faithful, God offers grace—not forgiveness—as the remedy for weakness. Grace is an enabling power from God to do what we cannot do on our own—the appropriate godly remedy by which He can “make weak things become strong.”

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nativity Countdown #4

Some of my nativities I like more than others; this is one of them. I love that it's unique and one-of-a-kind. (I know it is because I hand-crafted it myself and even I couldn't duplicate it again.) Each one of us is unique and individual, and that's what makes us so special, even if on some days we don't feel like it.

I was struck by a question in one of this week's seminary lessons: "How well does the Savior know me?" Think about that. He actually knows us very well, probably even better than we know ourselves. And in spite of our imperfections, He loves us totally and perfectly. What a wonderful gift!

Today while searching for one quote, I found another one I've tried finding in the past without success. Since it goes along with #LIGHTtheWorld Day 4 - Worship - I'll include it here.

"To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ was and is to believe in and accept Him as the literal Son of God and Savior of the world, and to obey His commandments. By these means only may the Spirit of God become an abiding part of man's individual being, even as the substance of the food he eats is assimilated with the tissues of his body." (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, page 342)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Nativity Countdown #3

"Joy to the World, the Lord is come!"

We should rejoice in the fact that our Lord and Savior was born. I like that this is the message of this particular nativity. While I love the message, and I like this wall hanging, it doesn't really fit with this particular house, so I took it to Relief Society last night to put on the exchange table. That's appropriate because I'm sure this was originally a Relief Society craft. I can rejoice in the sisterhood of my friends and remember our good times together without keeping something that will just gather dust. I am grateful that, unlike "things," love and friendship endure eternally.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Nativity Countdown #2

There was another nativity decoration not packed away in the closet, because this one flips around with a year-round "Prayer changes things" message on the back. Isn't that a clever idea? A lot of our nativity sets I purchased myself, but this one was a gift. That is one reason it's special.

Another reason I love it is because of its simple message. Behold means to observe and see. I love that we're encouraged to look to the Savior year-round, but particularly at Christmas. Follow his example. Follow his teachings. Do our part to bring peace on earth and share goodwill with others.

Finally, I just love this particular picture of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. It's filled with love and hope and adoration. We can have those same emotions as we look to the Savior. Look for the miracles and tender mercies that abound this time of year. Look for kindness and compassion. Look for opportunities to serve and bring joy and happiness to others.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nativity Countdown #1

It's December! This year the Church is sponsoring an initiative called "Light the World" which can be found at


Since a new star first appeared above Bethlehem, Christmas has been a season of light, reminding us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Together, we can celebrate His birth by making the world a brighter place. All we have to do is follow Him—His life, His example, and His teachings. In doing so, we can help #LIGHTtheWORLD.
I encourage you to participate in the 25 days of service. I plan on doing so. However, although I'll probably complete the daily challenge, I'm not going to write about it here. Instead, I want to share my nativity collection with you. We love Santa! But we also want to remember that Christ is the reason for the season.

One of our family traditions is to wrap a copy of John 3:16 as a reminder that Heavenly Father's gift to us is His Son. Rather than just have a piece of paper in the package, I often wrapped the scripture with a nativity set. Consequently, we have quite a few. Each day this month I thought I'd share one of them with you, along with how it helps us remember Christ. This will definitely help me feel the Spirit of Christmas, and I hope it helps you as well.

There are a few things about the nativity above that prompted me to start this series with it. First, it's the newest one and the only one available for a picture! Second, it's reminding me of my slogan - Finishers Wanted. I purchased several craft sets on clearance years ago, and this year I finally got around to completing them. (That's why it's the first one up, it wasn't packed away with all the others.) Diligence, perseverance, and success are all Christ-like qualities, things in which I'm continually striving to improve. Finally, I just love the star on top, and that reminds me of light and hope, this 2016 Christmas initiative, and my Savior.

There you have it. Best wishes for a wonderful month filled with peace and joy and love.

Image result for John 3:16 christmas

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 18, 2016

More Thoughts on Worship

While choosing which conference talk to share while visiting teaching this week, I was led to the one by Bishop Dean M. Davies - The Blessings of Worship. "Worship" is a subject I've returned to again and again; there's always something for me to learn. I loved how Bishop Davies tied worship to faith, hope and charity, and turned it into a perfect thought for November by mentioning gratitude and thanksgiving at the end.

The topic of worship came up again as I studied John 4 (the woman at the well story) for seminary and came across this quote:

True and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in his Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying. It is emulating the life of the great Exemplar.

It comes from an excellent talk by Elder Bruce R. McConkie - How to Worship. If you read it, you can find out what cows and crocodiles have to do with worship. I love the list of concrete examples he gives because it helps me understand the subject better.

I have more thoughts, quotes and scriptures over here on this post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Second Coming

I just wanted a place to gather some thoughts/quotes on the subject, mainly because of a comment made in Sunday School this week. A visitor mentioned that Elder Christofferson visited their stake conference recently and said that the world doesn't necessarily need to get any more wicked in order for the Second Coming, but that the righteous need to become more righteous. I'm summarizing and paraphrasing, but it got me thinking a bit and I wanted to see if I could find an "official" source for that thought.

I didn't, but I did find two other non-official ones -  from an Elder Black in Argentina in 2014 and from a Sister Moss in Missouri in 2015. I, too, felt the change of perspective that Sister Moss mentions.

I also learned something from a good friend of mine who recently went to a mission conference with D. Todd Christofferson. He said that many people think that the SecondCcoming will come when the world is wicked enough. But this is not the case! The world already is wicked enough. The second coming will come when there are enough disciples that will accept Christ when he comes. We are not on the mission to show Heavenly Father how wicked these people are. We are here to find the righteous and prepare them for when Christ comes. - Elder Black

One night, a few sisters and I were talking to one of the senior couples in the VC and talking about the world. With the whole same-sex marriage supreme court thing, we were talking about how the world is becoming more and more wicked. And I just asked, why can't the Second Coming happen? Why do we have to wait, isn't the world wicked enough? Elder Phillips said that Elder Christofferson said that the world is plenty wicked for the Second Coming, but we are not righteous enough. That changed my perspective SO much. We have to be more righteous right now because we are literally paving the path of Christ to come reign on the earth. And we aren't righteous enough for that to happen. Elder Phillips said that President Vest told them we have to "crank our testimonies up". We got a lot of work ahead of us, people. - Sister Moss

Elder D. Todd Christofferson did give a conference talk that showed up in the Google search - Come to Zion, - in 2008. In it he said:

Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, “the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen.

Yes, we do need to prepare; we need to work on increasing our personal righteousness on a daily basis. Here's the link to an old seminary video that really impressed me the first time I saw it - The Gardener. It's a good question to ponder frequently - "Am I ready for the owner to visit his garden today?"

The Gardener

Visitor: Well, for not knowing when he's coming you certainly keep this place beautifully. You'd think you were expecting [the owner] tomorrow.

Caretaker: No. Today, sir, today.