Bolivar Ward Christmas Party

Normally these Christmas parties are about 2-3x larger, but the weather has been horrible & effected our numbers. But...the weather couldn't stop Santa from coming! It was a fun night.

Let the cookie decorating begin!

2nd annual cookies with the Jacobs.


Snow & the Christmas spirit

Our latest snow storm....
...and completely unrelated, but some principles/scriptures that have been in my heart lately & that have really invited the true spirit of Christmas (as cliche as that sounds) into my heart this season. 

Matthew 25:40
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

Alma 29:1-3
"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me."

Moroni 7:6-8
"For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God."

I especially LOVE this scripture in Matthew! The acts of service we perform are just to people that we rub shoulders with every day. One woman that I visit teach (if you don't know what that is, you can see here) has classified herself as a "loser". She's very lonely and home bound much of the time. She's hasn't been to church for years and years...most of the women I visit teach are not active church goers. I guess it would be easy to write off visiting them. They don't come to church anyways. But that's not how I feel! I feel so much more desire to just shower them with love. I know this love is not me- I'm so imperfect- but it is a divine gift of the spirit. As I try to be obedient & serve, the Lord blesses me with a little piece of the love the Lord has for them. I hope they can feel it through me. 

And this is where Alma 29 comes in. Sometimes I dream of doing great things & really leaving my mark on the world.  I want to help people come closer to Christ.  I know how my relationship with Him has been life changing.  I love the Lord & my greatest desire is to be an instrument in his hands. But it hit me one day that just as Alma, I should be "content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me". And that is serving those in my small circle of friends/influence.

"Father, where shall I work today?
And my love flowed warm & free.
Then He pointed out a tiny spot
And said, "Tend that for me."
I answered quickly "Oh no; not that!"
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done;
Not that little place for me."
And the word He spoke, it was not stern;
He answered me tenderly: "
Ah, little one, search that heart of thine
Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee."
--Meade McGuire

 And then a week or so ago, I came across Moroni 7:6-8 in my scripture study. At the time it struck me, because the previous day I had grudgingly served my husband. :)  I realized that serving with a bad attitude would never have the power to change me and help me become a better person.  And who wants to be accounted as evil.

That night I happily sat down to dinner with my family- happy partially because of the "service high" I had from gladly taking a meal to a woman I used to visit teach and I was even ahead of the game & had prepared extra food. We were now set with awesome leftovers (we love leftovers in this household)! 

And then I got a phone call. A woman in our ward needed a meal & things had fallen through with someone else bringing it. I looked at my plethora of food & remembered Moroni 7. And before any resentment could creep in, I willingly began to throw together a last minute meal. As I packed things in ziplock bags I realized that maybe it was no coincidence that I'd prepared extra food that day...and maybe it was no coincidence that the woman had called me (the one with the extra food) to see if I could take the meal. My heart was filled with gratitude because I knew that the Lord had guided me in my actions & scripture studying that day.

I've reflected on these scriptures and it just fills me with joy! It feels so good to shift my focus away from what I'll receive this year & instead focus on what part of me I can give the Savior.