It is Christmas day. It looks like it is going to be another gorgeous summer day here in Jamaica. The sun is shining, the temperature is around 80-85, there are a few white clouds in the otherwise clear blue sky and the hills around Kingston are a beautiful green. As I am sitting here I can hear the birds singing in the trees and except for a little distant traffic noise all is calm, all is bright.
What a beautiful place to spend Christmas! All the usual hustle and bustle did not touch us this year. We have seen a few Christmas lights in the nicer neighborhoods, two trees on the tops of cars, a few displays in the shopping malls and heard some nice music—often with a pop beat. I spent yesterday with my usual fudge and spiced nut making but it was very quiet. Christmas Eve was at the Mission Home with the other Senior Missionaries and a nice meal. We talked about Christmas traditions and listened to a wonderful talk about the Savior and the Godhead by Elder Holland.
As I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish for the past year I spent a little time before going to bed last night reading the Christmas Story in Luke 2 in Spanish. That was a really neat experience. Because I am so familiar with the story I was able to understand it perfectly--and simply. I am so glad I have always believed the story of the Savior’s birth. I have always believed about his life and his teachings. I have always believed in the resurrection and life eternal. It is sort of like I cannot NOT believe. I fear I take the fact that he is my Savior a little casually at times and even take for granted his blessings and love for me and all of God’s children.
So this quiet Jamaican Christmas is an added blessing for me to take the time to reaffirm my beliefs even if it is just to and for myself. It is impossible to live in this world and not believe in a loving Creator God. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is a Heavenly Father/Creator—one who knows and loves his children. I cannot comprehend his omniscience and omnipresence but I cannot imagine anything else. Even if a world of pain, sorrow, evil and sin, God’s greatest blessing to all his children is powerfully evident. It is the reason there is peace and joy in the lives and hearts of some, sorrow and pain in the hearts of others, and evil and hatred in the hearts of still others. It is the great eternal blessing of moral agency—the whole reason for our existence on this earth-- The right of every living soul to choose what they believe, what they say, what they feel, what they do, and how they will live their lives. It is why the Savior of the World came into the world. It is why he allowed himself to be slain by those who chose to hate him and ridicule him and his teachings and to desire in their hearts to kill him in the hopes of stopping his work and teachings from spreading throughout the world. Because his teachings were the truth, because it was indeed the good news for all people, they were only able to kill his body not his doctrine or his influence.
What a profound comfort it is to truly believe these truths and to have knowledge of the doctrines he taught and know that it is The Gospel of God our Heavenly Father and of Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior. My life is peaceful and joyful in a frightening and evil world because I choose to believe in a personal Savior who is the Son of The Eternal Father In Heaven, and because I have a absolute faith and hope in eternal life in a world that will be even better than this beautiful and wonderful world in which we now live.
Merry Christmas Tony, may you always remember these feelings and these truths. 25 December 2012