Selamet Hari Natal, oleh suka dan kebahagiaann datang ke anda Natal ini,
I was beginning to think that it would be hard to feel "bright" about this holiday time. There is so much sadness in the world, so many have so much to bear. There is cruelty, and hatred, and huge problems that stretch the imagination to find solutions. Every day we hear proud men & women belittle others that are proud, and in the background there are so many who are hurting and looking for a little light, some respite in their dark lives. In the last week all of that became almost unbearable. What will the world be like for my grandchildren? How can we teach them hope and joy? Of course we know where the answers are, but that seemed like the light of a lantern trying to shine on a blind, blind mankind.
Elder noticed my "blues" and we talked, but I knew I needed to grasp a few things for myself. I am not usually so profoundly affected, but this last week was so brutal for the world. I always turn to music first. It sets my mind working, and my spirit tunes in and opens up. "This is the Christ", was especially helpful, and then there is my favorite song of all songs, not just Christmas, but of all songs... "Baby, What You Goin'to Be". "Alleluia, little baby, the Hope of the people, O what did You come here to say? Are you the chosen One? Are You the Savior, come to save the world one day?"
Elder Neil L. Andersen gave a talk this conference about the "Trial of Your Faith". I thought of Mary's and Joseph's trials. This was not the conventional family of the time. Their hearts must of been burdened with what they couldn't clearly understand, and then the long trip to Bethlehem, no room at the Inn, and the shock of the baby's arrival in the stable. Imagine the Hosts of Heaven singing, the shepherds coming to call talking about more angels, and new stars. What a moment in the heart of a parent. Their world was also very harsh, many of the same problems we face today, and of course they did not have the knowledge to prepare them for the course their son's life would take.
His Gospel, His life, His atonement, His resurrection is what will "save the world one day." The strength that started my soul to lighten came today during the Sacrament. When our Stake Youth sang "Gethsemane" this past Stake Conference, I challenge the youth to think of the words to that song during the Sacrament. "He felt all that was sad, wicked or bad, all the pain we would ever know. While His friends were asleep He fought to keep the promise made long ago". I know that the Father knows me... he knows all of His children. I know that the Savior has felt every sad burden I have felt this week, and all the burdens and sadness that come to us in this life. "Surely, surely, He has known our griefs"... So today I laid those griefs at his feet, and then I decided to try harder to do all that he asks me to do in faith. I know my loving Father, and my generous Savior, ache when I ache, and I decided my gift to them would be to find joy.
So we will wish you a Joyful Christmas. We realize this is an unusual Missionary Letter, and we promise next week will be cheerier. We are feeding 18 Missionaries and friends Christmas Turkey Dinner tomorrow afternoon. The Elders and Sisters bring joy wherever they go. Sister Knorrp and I are working together on this, which is another joy. It is always a good fix to get outside yourself and surround yourself with friends and family. What a joy to have our family support and love us. We have always enjoyed good friends and family. What an amazing blessing!
"Hold on thy way"..."doubt not, fear not..."
Elder and Sister Greenway