Bang Bang! Merry Christmas!

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So about 11:00 last night, I was just about to fall asleep. Then all you heard was bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang

That’s right. Someone decided to fire off a bunch of rounds with a handgun right down the street from us. What the heck?

We live in a small town, not some big city ghetto. This is not supposed to happen. It’s kind of scary. And because just about everyone was in bed, they don’t know which house it was at.

Merry Christmas everybody!

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Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

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When I read the story of the birth of Christ, that is the one line that speaks to me more than any other. When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was to bear the son of God, she accepted that her Father in heaven had chosen this role for her. She was a young woman, probably nervous about her upcoming marriage, and suddenly told that she would carry a child. She would probably face severe prejudice for not holding on to her chastity and had to face the fact that things would be extremely difficult. And yet she still said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord”.

I have faced a difficult past year. I had a miscarriage, had extremely stressful times in my marriage, have dealt with severe periods of depression and am now realizing that this may be my dad’s last Christmas. Even with all this going on, being a handmaid to the Lord has been a struggle for me. I know that following the principles laid out for me in the Scriptures are the way to happiness and contentment. Yet for some reason, I can’t even do the bare minimum. I do nothing blatantly wrong but I don’t strive to fulfill the covenants I have made with Heavenly Father. I know that I’m not living up to my potential as a child of God.

In the coming year, I will try to overcome my weaknesses and dedicate myself to continuing on the path with eternity in mind. I know the biggest obstacle I have to overcome is letting my depression keep me from doing things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father. I will attend church regularly, pay a full tithe, serve others and keep in mind always that blessings abound for those who are obedient. I will remember that, even though those blessings may be few on earth, they will be showered upon me after my mortal existence.

I need to remember to be a handmaid.

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A Gift to the World

I am so grateful for the true reason for this holiday. What better gift to receive than that of eternal life?

I really think President Thomas S. Monson expressed the true meaning of Christmas best in this year’s Christmas devotional.

“There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.

Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.

Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.

Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.

Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.

Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life.”

Have a wonderful, joy filled Christmas!