I hope you enjoy this week's picture selection. It was not a tough choice..at all. A wonderful family invited us to spend some time making gingerbread houses with their kids and the kids from another family. It was great! As you can see, Santa ate too many cookies at my house, and whatever cookies Elder Kirton ate had way too much sugar. Well, I guess I don't look too calm either.
It's always an enjoyable experience to spend time with kids. It is also a good reminder to always strive to be more Christlike. Jesus told His disciples that we must humble ourselves as little children. They might not be the most emotionally mature, but there are so many traits that children possess that would benefit us in all aspects of life were we to acquire them. I don't need to point them out to you; just think about it.
We also had a Christmas dinner at the church on Friday with our ward. It was a Mexican potluck! The food was amazing, and afterwards we had a music/nativity program. Someone from the ward played harp, which sounded beautiful. I want to play it now. Really, though, the program was amazing. It's so nice to have a place to go where the true meaning of Christmas is upheld.
In Luke 2, the story of the birth of Christ is told, and the message of the event is brought to a group of shepherds by an angel of the Lord. "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11) This is why Christmas is even celebrated in the first place. The reason for the excitement centered around this season is because of these "good tidings of great joy." The fact that we have a Saviour calls for rejoicing and celebration. We cannot comprehend how deep the meaning of this, because we do not see outside of the bounds of this life. Our minds do not remember before our birth, nor do they foresee beyond our death. What we do know is this: Because of the Atonement of Christ, and only through Him, we have the chance to return to live with God forever in a state infinite happiness. Only because of His death and resurrection will we be able to live once more in our physical bodies, in perfect form, after they pass away from mortality. If it were not for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we would never be resurrected, and the sins of our lives would be on our heads forever, disqualifying us from eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Only by living the gospel of Christ, we can become clean before God and qualify to live in His presence. That is only made possible because our Saviour lived a life perfectly aligned with the will of the Father, and then continued to suffer and die, make an infinite sacrifice to pay the price for our sins. This sacrifice, or Atonement, could only be made by Him, being the Only Begotten in the flesh and living every single moment exactly how Heavenly Father wanted Him to. The steps we must take to receive the blessings of the Atonement are faith in Christ, repentance, baptism by someone holding the proper Priesthood of God, receiving the Holy Ghost as discussed in Acts 8, and continuing in faith and repentance our entire lives.