Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Means Redemption

Merry Christmas! Rather, Merry Christmas Eve. What a wonderful time of year! The best in fact. A time of family, being with the ones you love and giving. Ever since returning home from my mission almost five months ago, Christmas and its coming means so much more to me than it ever has before. It means PEACE. It means LOVE. It means JOY. It means FAMILY. It's when we sing carols, give gifts and serve all those around us. It's when we celebrate the birth of One who brings all of us hope--who suffered and died to bring us light and love when we fall--Jesus Christ. Yesterday, something hit me like a ton of bricks as I watched the live performance of Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol. I realized something that shifted my paradigm of the Christmas season. Christmas is all the joy, treats and happy spirits. But, more than anything, Christmas means REDEMPTION. You and I, we can get back to live with our Heavenly Father again...HAPPY, CLEAN, PURE and BETTER PEOPLE because of He who has given His life so that He could help guide us through our journey here on earth.

The story of Scrooge really changed my perspective of everything and of exactly who Jesus Christ is as our Savior. Think about it---Scrooge was a man that was hard, who hated Christmas and wouldn't give anybody the time of day. Scrooge was a man of strong distaste for life and the Christmas Spirit itself. Money and success was his bliss and his savior. But, after he was shown what HAD BEEN what CURRENTLY was and WHAT COULD BE (which is what the repentance and atonement process is all about in our own lives) he changed. Scrooge became the most giving, selfless person in all of England. HIS VERY CHARACTER CHANGED. HE REPENTED. HE DECIDED TO DEDICATE HIS LIFE TO GOD. We too are all like Scrooge in a sense. We all have our mountains to climb, our own trials, character flaws, and barriers that keep us from progressing to God. There is only one way to change, and that is through our Savior Jesus Christ. That is why I love this time of year. It's all about Him.

Scrooge says something at the end of the play after he has changed his life around and has been softened. He says to himself, "You know I really don't deserve to be this happy." That is exactly how I feel. I have messed up SO much in my life, yet through the atonement I have been healed. He has CHANGED me and made me WHOLE. Although I probably don't deserve to be this happy, I am!!! And it is all thanks to He who wants us to see ourselves and those around us as God does. What a beautiful time of year. To remember that we are REDEEMED by that perfect Child who was born so long ago. The hope, the joy and the bliss that comes from following Jesus Christ and trusting Him to pick us up and make us into everything we are meant to be is what truly allows us to soar. All of us have access to Christ, the ULTIMATE gift. That gift being the ATONEMENT.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is one of my favorite Christmas songs this year because I feel that it perfectly reflects the gift of the ATONEMENT. Christmas truly means REDEMPTION. And that is why CHRISTMAS NEVER HAS TO DIE AFTER DECEMBER 25. It is something we can have everyday---as we continue to change and better our lives---to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. That is the true Spirit of Christmas. Using that gift we have been so graciously given. I will never stop using that Gift. Because, it has been what has brought the most joy, peace and happiness in my life. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I can't wait to one day personally thank Him for the Gift that has allowed me to have joy in this crazy morality stage. I love my Savior. I strive daily to be like He is. All of us can. He will fill us with love, if we let Him in. He is always there with His arms wide open. Here are the lyrics to that song, they have changed my perspective on life. We can all REST and have JOY and be COMFORTED because of Jesus Christ and His Atoning Sacrifice. Embrace and BELIEVE these lyrics:

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
Was born upon this day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy!

In Bethlehem in Jewry
This blessed Babe was born,
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn;
The which his mother Mary
Nothing did take in scorn. Refrain

From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name. Refrain

'Fear not,' then said the angel,
'Let nothing you affright;
This day is born a Saviour
Of virtue, power and might,
So frequently to vanquish all
The friends of Satan quite.' Refrain

The shepherds at these tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway
This blessed Babe to find. Refrain

But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this Infant lay,
They found him in a manger
Where oxen fed on hay;
His mother Mary, kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray. Refrain

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace.
The holy tide of Christmas
All others doth efface. Refrain

Merry Christmas! I love you all more than anything in the world.
Remember, there is more to you than you think. Always.

Your biggest fan,

Brooke Weenig

**This post is dedicated to my Savior Jesus Christ and to my neighbor, Ted Hangsen (my adopted grandfather), who has always showed me the most kindness and believed in me ever since I was 4 years old. Thank you for the example and inspiration you and your family have been in my life.

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