As we approach the end of the year, I understand that stress and tension can run high as we try to wrap up our activities amidst all the other responsibilities placed upon us.
Lately, my thoughts have been focused on those who have been given difficult trials and heavy burdens. My calling often allows me a backstage pass into the lives of those who need a little care and attention and I am humbled by the strength and testimonies I have witnessed in those who are struggling. There are many out there who are struggling with illnesses and bodily pain, both temporary and terminal, who are financially struggling, and whose hopes and dreams have been crushed due to circumstances outside their control and whose futures are now uncertain. The trials involved hospital stays, the death of a baby, a wife receiving the news of her husband’s conviction and life-sentence, and the death of an adult child.
Despite these somewhat gloomy subjects, I have seen miracles of comfort and mercy as the Lord bestows His spirit and love upon these families through individuals and leaders who avail themselves as conduits for these blessings. Every little act of service counts!
Each year, at Christmas we celebrate the miracle of the birth of our Savior, His life of service and love, and His supreme gift of the Atonement and the Resurrection. These two events celebrated and remembered together, represent the most sorrowful, difficult hours of history paired with the greatest triumph and hope of mankind. Our Savior took upon himself our sins, sorrows, and ailments of every kind, great and small, and overcame them. He then conquered death itself, rising from the grave and providing the pathway for each of us to follow, allowing us to also overcome the trials and sins of this world and rise again, made whole through the mercy and glory of God.
This message of hope ought to reach everyone. The #LightTheWorld campaign suggests 25 meaningful ways for an act of service that is based on a teaching of Jesus Christ. This twenty-five acts of service have been spread across the first twenty-five days in December—each day with its own task. As we embrace this opportunity to “light the world,” that same light will illuminate the eyes of our heart to find joy and peace; and brighten our paths back to our Father in Heaven.
I know that Christ is my personal Savior and Redeemer. The experiences I have had throughout my life have manifested this to me in a thousand different ways. Each morning as I gaze at the newly risen sun, I am reminded of another Son who also rose to light the world with hope, love and the promise of eternal life. It is impossible to look at the magnificent creations around us and doubt that the Lord loves us, each individually. It is such a blessing to me that I know that my Savior lives, that he suffered for our sins, and that through Him all mankind may be saved. It is a message that touches the innermost emotions of the heart. As I strive through each day trying to do all that must be done, this message breaks in through the suffering and I know that I am not alone in a crowd, but that I am His, I was bought with each tear and drop of blood that was shed for me. That love and compassion can make the hardest days bearable and lifts my weary shoulders. As President Hinckley has said, “In sunshine and in shadow we look to Him, and He is there to assure and smile upon us.” I testify this is true and that His love will forever be with us.