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Monday, December 1, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Our Savior Came: A Poem with a Powerful Christmas Message for All

As promised, here is the Christmas-themed message I made reference to in my last post. Many years ago, I was reading our copy of the December Ward Newsletter. The message featured a poem penned by Lou Pinter. It is a poem with a powerful message. I share it in the hopes that it will help us all remember the true meaning of Christmas.





‘Twas the Night Before the Savior Came

‘Twas the night before Our Savior came and all through the house,
Not a person was praying, not one in the house.
Their scriptures were lain on the shelf without care,
Thinking Our Savior would not come there.
 And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the late show, while I took a nap.
Where out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But angels proclaiming that our Savior was here!
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment it must be the day!
The beauty of His face made me cover my head,
It was Our Savior returning just like he said....
 And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand,
Was written the names of every saved man.
He spoke not a word, as He searched for my name.
Then He said, “It’s not here.” My head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His father above.
With those who were read, He rose without a sound,
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late.
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and cried as they rose out of sight,
“Oh, if only I’d been ready tonight.”
In the words of this poem, the meaning is clear,
The coming of Our Savior is drawing near.
There is only one life and when comes the last call,
We will find that the scriptures were true, after all....
 
I hope that during the hustle and bustle of the season, we will not forget that without Christ, there is no Christmas. It is my hope and prayer that we may selflessly give and joyfully receive this Christmas. I also hope and pray that we may be prepared for His Second Coming, for He will come again. I know this is true with all my heart, and I share this witness and this post with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Big news from Church Headquarters/Important Events in Church History and Family this month/General Update

I am blogging today for three main reasons: the first is to share some big news from Church headquarters, the second is to share important events that will be happening in Church history this month, and the final reason is to give a general update of our situation since last week when I last posted. Hang on to your hats! This will be a wild ride!

The Church announced that on December 3rd and 4th, it will be sending out newsletters to all who have an LDS account. "The content is a message from the First Presidency and two messages concerning the holiday season," according to the news release on lds.org. The First Presidency writes, "We are pleased to announce this new Church email newsletter that we will regularly publish and share with members throughout the world. This newsletter is part of our effort to find more effective ways to communicate with our growing global membership in order to share timely and valuable messages that can strengthen our love for Jesus Christ, for our families, and for those around us.” There will be options to unsubscribe to these e-mails, but I doubt many will want to do so. All members need to ascertain that their e-mail as listed on their LDS account is accurate in order to receive the newsletters, which will be initially translated into 10 languages.

Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who apparently has some involvement in this project, said, "In a world where communication channels are so numerous and fragmented, delivering a message that does not become distorted along the way is increasingly difficult. The Church has a unique advantage in that millions of faithful members have entrusted their email address to us. We feel the time has come to utilize these personal email addresses to improve the effectiveness of our communications to Church members."


E-mails will be part of the "News and Inspiration" subscription. The first e-mail will contain a welcome and introduction by the First Presidency which will serve as a greeting and explain the purpose for this and future e-mails. The e-mail will also focus on the Church's Christmas theme, "He Is The Gift." The e-mail will finally detail information about the upcoming Christmas Devotional on December 7.


Elder Perkins concluded: "One purpose of email newsletters is to assist members in becoming aware of Church resources that will strengthen their faith in Christ, bless their families, and help them serve in the community. We plan that over time members will have a few more specific choices in newsletters they would like to receive. But this email channel could also be used to notify members during emergency situations or for matters of urgent importance to the First Presidency or the Twelve."

This is an exciting new development in Church History. I for one can't wait for the Church newsletters. It will be interesting to see how such newsletters help to bring the leading brethren at Church headquarters closer to the people. I urge all who are interested to update their e-mail addresses in their online profile on lds.org. If you are unsure how to do so, your ward should have a technology specialist that can assist you in doing so.

That was the major thing I wanted to focus on in this blog post. But I also wanted to bring my readers up-to-date on a few other Church History events that are happening in December. Elder Holland will turn 74 on December 3. This may come as a surprise to some. He certainly doesn't look 74. Hopefully he will be with us for at least another 20 years. He may even live to be President of the Church one day, but please don't quote me on that. It's just a personal opinion. Again, speaking personally, I would love it if President Monson lived to break President Gordon B. Hinckley's record of being the oldest living prophet. That will happen on March 26, 2025. In the meantime, this December is significant also because of the fact that on December 9, President Monson will overtake President Howard W. Hunter to become the 9th oldest prophet in the Church's history. Also in the realm of exciting developments, though a site has not been officially announced for the Tucson Arizona Temple, a potential site has been identified, and the webmaster of ldschurchtemples.com projects that the Tucson Arizona temple will have a groundbreaking ceremony sometime in 2015. This means it has moved up considerably in the list of announced temples, since several other temples that do have a site announced do not have a potential groundbreaking time frame yet. These all stack up to make December an exciting month for Church History events.

No less significant to me are the important events that will take place in my family this month. Amy's dad, Gene Nuttall, celebrates his 74th birthday on December 8. Happy Birthday, Dad Nuttall! On December 14, my mom will become 59. I wish to express my love and appreciation to her for all she's done to support and encourage me over the years. Two days later, I will mark my 28th birthday. I'm getting older by the minute! And two days after that will commemorate 4 wonderful years since I knelt across the altar from my beloved Amy and heard those wonderful words that bound us together for eternity. These last four years have been wonderful. While our circumstances haven't always been ideal, we have always had each other, and that means a lot. I love you, sweetheart, now and forever!

On December 25, we celebrate Christmas. Either right after posting this post or sometime this week, I will post something specifically Christmas related, but for now, I just want to express my gratitude for the season, and more than that, the reason for the season. Without the birth in Bethlehem, there would be no garden of Gethsemane or cross of Calvary, and I would have reason to despair because of the weight of my transgressions. But because of Him, I will be redeemed from my transgressions and shortcomings and will triumph over all my trials. Because of Him, I have great reason to rejoice.

Life goes on. My work week went very smoothly. Thanksgiving Day, we spent the afternoon with Amy's family, came home and rested, then saw my parents and brother and sister-in-law that night. It was a great holiday that went by far too quickly. The next day, when I presented a list of my upcoming appointments to my supervisor at work, he noticed I mentioned a couple that were for Amy. He asked how long I had been married. I told him it would be four years on December 18. He asked if I had any plans for the anniversary. I told him I would probably be working on that day. He surprised me by saying that I should seriously consider taking that day off to be with my wife and said that he would have no problem whatsoever making the necessary arrangements for me and approving the request for time off. So I am considering it. It would be lovely to spend the day of our anniversary with Amy, especially as we have not always had that opportunity, but at the same time, I don't know what Kelly Services would say about my taking time off for that, as they would be approving the time off in addition to my getting approval from ROI Solutions. So we'll have to think about it and pray about it.

Got my third check from Kelly Services on Friday. Even with taking time off for breaks and lunch, and the time I took off for the appointment with Dr. Green, I worked 35.75 hours during the pay period. However, because of the demands on our pocketbooks and everything coming due at the same time, we will have to settle for paying our rent in two payments instead of one. I am glad our landlord is easygoing about when and how much of the rent is paid. I am also glad that, thanks to his flexibility, we will be all right financially until I get paid again on Friday.

Haven't found a house yet, but it's still early on in the game, so I'm not worried. I'll only hit the panic button if/when mid-May rolls around and we haven't found anything by then. Plenty of time still. And the Lord has confirmed that we need to stay in the American Fork East Stake, so we'll be focusing our search in that area. We have looked into some foreclosed homes, but who knows if/when they'll be on the market. I feel confident we will find the right place for us in the Lord's due time.

My health has been relatively good since I started working. I have struggled a bit more with coughing and allergies since then, and I have also had a lot more stress headaches and migraines. Unfortunately, these often hit when I am at work and can do nothing about them except plow through. With the Lord's help, however, I've not had to take any sick time yet. I know the Lord will continue to sustain me as I provide for my family. I am grateful to Him for His help in sustaining me through my work days.

Well, that's about all that's going on with us. While things could be a lot better, I know they could also be a lot worse. I feel incredibly blessed to be doing as well as I am in the situation I am in. I recognize that the Lord has given me all these blessings. I only hope I am giving Him sufficient credit for them and showing Him sufficient gratitude for them. I hope you, my readers, are all doing well and are still enjoying hearing and reading about my exploits and adventures. I know I am looking forward to seeing what this next week will bring, especially as it will be the first full work week I will have. Until I post again, my readers, I wish you well.