BUT that isn't the part I am most excited about.
I am filled to the brim with excitement to remember Jesus Christ's birth: the hope and joy that came in the anticipation and actualization of it. I have loved the reminders of His birth and the beautiful opportunity to gather my little ones around me and teach them about His life and mission.
This year is different for me and I think that has brought the overwhelming excitement.
Just a few short years ago, I was surprised to find myself where I was. I had a testimony of Jesus Christ; however, because of stretching circumstances, I felt abandoned by God and left alone. I watched as my life unraveled around me and my every attempt to patch it back together only seemed to worsen the situation. I was without all hope...
It was at that point of recognizing how powerless I was to remedy my situation that God could begin to work in my life. I had no hope in myself or my ability, but I had hope in Christ and the power of the atonement. It was just a small glimmer at that point, but He was my "last" hope.
In learning to take different action and apply the atonement in my daily life, it has deepened my testimony. I have come to new levels of understanding. I stand witness to the reality of the atonement! He has changed me! He has made right and healed what would have otherwise been broken! No sin or hurt is somehow beyond His reach! No circumstance too impossible!
Understanding my personal and desperate need for redemption has changed everything for me. I think I am beginning to truly understand why Jesus Christ's birth was anticipated for centuries. He is the healing balm. He is the ONLY way. Why not shout His praises?!
How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who was willing to offer up His son for each of us. I didn't understand before how literal and personal the scriptures are. I thought I did, but I only understood them in theory, not true application. Heavenly Father LITERALLY expects us to lay our burdens at His feet and allow the atonement to carry them and us. He didn't mean just sometimes or here and there. He meant each and every day. Each and every sin and heartache. To be filled by Jesus Christ.
How grateful I am for the beautiful plan of salvation!
"O how great the agoodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our bescape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, cdeath and dhell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
11 And because of the way of adeliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this bdeath, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
12 And this adeath of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is bhell; wherefore, death and hell must cdeliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its dcaptive espirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive fbodies, and the bodies and the gspirits of men will be hrestored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
13 O how great the aplan of our God! For on the other hand, the bparadise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is crestored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and dimmortal, and they are living souls, having a eperfect fknowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect."