Sunday, January 1, 2017

Week #24 – Christmas Gifts: December 20, 2016 – December 26, 2016

Penang Branch Christmas Party
As expected, my thoughts this week have been turned towards Christmas and the Savior. In church, I was given the opportunity to give a talk, the topic was John 3:17, which states: "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." As I was preparing for the talk, I was wondering, how this relates to Christmas. What is the true meaning of Christmas? I was flipping through the LDS hymnbook and noticed that all of the Christmas songs include words such as "joyful", "triumphant", "praise", "hallelujah", "rejoice", etc. The tone behind these songs are joyful, expectant, and anticipating. What are we really singing during these songs? What are we really praising? We are singing the birth of Jesus Christ. Why is it so significant that Jesus was born? It is because He gave the greatest gift known to man. He gave us the gift of the atonement. As missionaries, we share that the atonement has three parts: Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ's death on the cross, Christ's resurrection. So why are these significant? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered the sins of everyone. On the cross, Christ completed everything his Father asked him to do--he finished his Father's will. When Christ was resurrected, he overcame death. He made the greatest miracles come to pass and made it possible for us to live with God again. Because of this, we have a reason to celebrate! We have a reason to sing praises! We have a reason to rejoice!
Sister Vranes and Durham
with a member

As we've contacted people in Penang, we've had the pleasure to share the true meaning of Christmas. So think about these next few questions: Why do we give gifts on Christmas? How do you feel when you get a gift? If you could have any gift this year, what would you like to receive? How do you feel when you give a gift? If you could give anyone any gift, what would you give? You know that God can give any gift. This year, what gift would you like God to give you? This year, what are you willing to give to God? I challenge you to make your gift to God a New Year's Resolution and to keep it!

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