Monday, January 5, 2015

12.29.14

Christmas this year was definitely not the same as other Christmases.  I have had throughout my life time.  For Example, No snow, no Santa Clause, no Festival of Lights, you get the picture.  In fact, Christmas night was the first time that I actually cried on my mission!  The first moments of the tear-spilling ordeal were mostly because I missed home, Santa, Christmas Music and walking round the house in nothing but a Santa hat and boxers.   I am not one to share spiritual experiences all too often but this was overwhelming.

However, as my little sobbing session continued, I realized something great.  I realized that I am Very far from home, family, friends and traditions, but I am VERY close to Jesus Christ.  This is something that, in Christmases past, I took for granted.  Yes, we would think of Christ during Christmas, we would even put on a skit of his birth every year and it was great.  However, as soon as those things were completed and over with, I would go back to thinking about presents and going to the lights at Temple Square so I could squander some likes on Insta.  This year was different, I physically couldn't go to Temple Square, I couldn't spend time singing and dancing with friends and family, I couldn't go the Festival of Lights.  The absence of these things gave me ample time to really ponder Christ's birth, His mission, and His atoning sacrifice.  I was able to use Christ as my friends, family and Christmas music.  It truly was a Festival of His Light.

Soon after I realized these things:  my tears of longing and admiring, were turned to tears of happiness and gratitude for friends and family that influenced me to come out here and enabled me to become this close to the Savior.  They were tears of love for those that have supported me in this part of my life.  They were tears of testimony, tears that strengthened my believing and understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

I am thankful for this Christmas.  I am thankful for all of you that have helped me get to where I am today.  If you are reading this, all I want for you is to truly realize that Jesus Christ is the Savior.  It's not easy to come to that realization, it took me 19, almost 20 years!  Sometimes it sound like a long shot to say that Jesus Christ came and suffered for our sins and because of that we can all go to heaven, I understand that, because it sounded like a complete hoax to me for along time as well.   If you are having or have ever had a doubt about these things, consider my words.   I know, without a remnant of doubt, that Christ is the way to true happiness in this life and in the life to come.   The evidence of that last sentence is seen in looking at the history of my life, and the lives of billions of others.  I  hope taht you can be able to see the evidence of His divine mission in your life as well.  Jesus is indeed the "reason for the season" but he is also the reason that we can all experience joy and the reason that we can all live with God again in the state of never ending happiness.  I know these things to be true with every fiber of my being.

Once again, thank you all for everything that you have done and continue to do in my life.  I hope that you can all feel the influence of Christ in your lives after reading these words.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I Love you all.:)

Elder Bradford

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