Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Joy to the World"

Let every heart prepare him room.
~"Joy to the World"

Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
~"Silent Night"

Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
 ~"O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
~"Hark! the Herald Angels Sing"

Lord, with the angels we too would rejoice;
Help us to sing with the heart and voice.
~"Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains"

"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep:
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
~"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

Sharing Time: What are your favorite words from the Christmas hymns?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Every Sister

An Extensive Sphere of Action

The Lord, His Church, families, and communities need the influence of righteous women. In fact, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “every sister in this Church who has made covenants with the Lord has a divine mandate to help save souls, to lead the women of the world, to strengthen the homes of Zion, and to build the kingdom of God.”1

Some sisters may wonder if they can accomplish such lofty aims. But as Eliza R. Snow (1804–87), second Relief Society general president, explained, “There is no sister so isolated, and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.”2 Sister Snow also taught that Relief Society was organized “for the accomplishment of every good and noble work.”3

Participation in Relief Society enlarges our spheres of influence by giving each sister opportunities to build faith, to strengthen families and homes, and to provide service both at home and throughout the world. And fortunately, our efforts as individuals and as Relief Societies need not be large and overwhelming, but they should be deliberate and consistent. Righteous practices such as daily personal and family prayer, daily scripture study, and consistently magnifying Church callings will help increase faith and build the Lord’s kingdom.

To sisters who wonder if these seemingly quiet contributions make a difference, Elder Ballard affirms: “Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come.”4

From Our History

Eliza R. Snow, who had served as secretary when Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo, was called by President Brigham Young (1801–77) to travel throughout the Church, helping bishops organize Relief Society in their wards.

Sister Snow taught: “If any of the daughters and mothers in Israel are feeling in the least circumscribed [limited] in their present spheres, they will now find ample scope for every power and capability for doing good with which they are most liberally endowed. … President Young has turned the key to a wide and extensive sphere of action and usefulness.”5

~The December visiting teaching message.

Challenge: Be the righteous woman Heavenly Father knows you can be.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Did you watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last Sunday? Wasn't it wonderful? It's one of the few things that light the Christmas spirit in me (I'm somewhat of a Scrooge, for those of you who don't know me). I am watching it again now because I missed some of it and wanted to remember the parts that touched me so I can share them with you:

Opening & Closing
  • Love the wintry blue dresses instead of red.
  • The French horns in "The First Noel" sounded heavenly. The entire song was angelic.
  • MoTab sang "Silent Night" with much reverence and sincerity. The harp was beautiful.
President Uchtdorf
  • "Don't ever play with fire--an important message with literal and figurative implications for everyone, not only children."
  • "The Lord does not expect that we commit to move mountains, but He does require that we bring as gifts our best efforts to move ourselves, one foot in front of the other, walking in the ways He has prepared and taught."
  • "Of course, we do not need a Christmas holiday or Christmas traditions to remember Jesus Christ, our Savior. But the celebrations of Christmas can help remind us of Him. The hallowed Christmas season can be an opportunity--and should be one--to recommit to keep the fire of the spirit and the glory of the Son of God burning in our hearts every day throughout the year."
President Eyring
  • Has there always been a fireplace and window background or is that new? It makes it more homey, like a grandfather talking to his family at home rather than in the Conference Center.
  • The video clip was a nice difference and was superbly done. I definitely felt the Spirit testify to me of Mary's divine calling, the Savior's divine birth and mission, and the wise men's true worship of Him.
  • "Well, you can give a great and wonderful Christmas if you will remember the gifts He has given you, and as best you can, offer them to others as He would. That is the true spirit of Christmas and happiness everyday."
President Monson
  • It was also different and very touching to hear President Monson testify of the divine calling of his counselors.
  • He shared his sadness over the commercialism of Christmas but reminded us that "Christmas is what we make of it" and that "despite all the distractions,we can see to it that Christ is the center of our celebration."
  • "[The spirit of Christmas] illuminates the picture window of the soul. We look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things."
  • Quoting another: "Let us not spend Christmas, but let us keep Christmas, in our hearts and in our lives."
  • "When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the spirit of Christ."
Sharing Time: What part(s) of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional touched you?