Wednesday, December 21, 2011


"It's the most wonderful time of the year."  Christmas is almost here!  It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating Christmas in the tiny town of Lolo, MT.  I can't believe a whole year has come and gone since then.  The Christmas season is such an awesome time.  The cool, crisp, air, with everyone wishing for a white Christmas (which is almost inevitable for Montana and Wyoming).  Lights are lit, music is playing, and gifts are given and recieved.  However, in the midst of all of the activity and excitement, there is a much deeper meaning.  The gifts are great, but we must not let that be the primary purpose of our Christmas. 

The true reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Christ.  On the night of Christ's birth, the sign of the star was given.  Three wise men followed that star until they found Jesus, their Lord and Savior.  They gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts.  Upon their return home, they were told to take a different route.  Matthew 2:12 reads, "And being warned of God in dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."

Once the wise men found the Christ, they went a different way back.  They could not go back down the same path that they came from, but with this new knowledge, they walked a new path.  During this Christmas season, grasp the true meaning of Christmas.  Find the Christ is Christmas and experience the blessings that come from it.  Once you do, you can do as the wise men of old did, and not return to your old ways, but walk a new path.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reason to Rejoice

Life is good.  There are a lot of really happy times that I can remember.  Times where I laughed, times where I smiled, times where I rejoiced.  Some of them include when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup (we won't talk about them this year), when my high school rock and roll band played a stellar show, and more importantly, when I opened my mission call to the Montana Billings Mission.  Just thinking of those times fills my soul with joy. 

I had an experience recently that kind of threw me for a loop though.  The experience led me to believe that there are so many more times that we can and should rejoice.  In 1 Peter 4:12-13, Peter is explaining how suffering should cause us to rejoice.  He says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings..."  That scripture hit me like a brick wall.  Never have I ever thought of that we could rejoice in suffering.  Logically, it doesn't make sense.  Spiritually is a whole different story. 

Times of trial should be considered blessings.  Trials refine us and define us.  Often times when hardship is happening, a blessing is the last thing we want to call it, but we can rejoice in Christ.  We can rejoice that we are suffering with him, and through that suffering, we grow that much closer to him.  We start to understand what he went through, while he fully understands what we do go through.  He loves us and will never leave us comfortless.  We must not sulk in sorrow during our suffering, but rather celebrate because of our sanctification, and realize the reason to rejoice!