March 31st, 2013 Easter Morning
This posting was actually written by Maren on Christmas Day, but it bears such beautiful testimony of the Savior that it seemed most appropriate to post it today:
Today we had a devotional with Elder Russell M. Nelson. It was such a powerful meeting, and not just because of what he said. Yesterday we were teaching our investigator about modern day prophets and apostles, and we were explaining that, just as men walked with God in antiquity, there are prophets, seers, and revelators who walk the earth today, and commune personally with the Lord on a regular basis. As we were teaching, I realized how amazing our message really is. Granted, I believe I had realized it before, but as I bore testimony of the truthfulness of modern-day prophets, the spirit bore witness to me of modern-day prophets, and I felt the power and spirit of those men who are called of God to preach his word to the world. I've been given the opportunity to preach the gospel to a small portion of the world, but these men have the daily opportunity of testifying of Christ and His life on a global scale. What an enormous blessing and responsibility. I've heard it said that "Elder" means "defender of the faith, and I know that, both he and I have that opportunity to defend the faith. Today as Elder Nelson walked into the room and we all rose, I could feel the power of God enter the room with him. He carries the mantle and authority of one who holds all of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and though Thomas S. Monson is currently the only man authorized to utilize ALL of those keys, I was impressed with the love of God in giving His people wise men to lead us to Him.
I suppose it was just such a testimony to me of God's love: that He sends us means whereby we may return to live with Him forever. He's given us living prophets who lead and guide us, who know better than we the course and fate of the world. However, on this Christmas day, I am even more grateful for the other, infinitely greater means which God has granted us to allow us eternal life, and that is He whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Though He was born in humble circumstances, He came to this earth as our King, and through His mission, He magnified His role as such. This child whose birth we celebrate is the Christ, the anointed one, the Savior of the earth, the great and merciful Lord, the Messiah for our souls. This baby, who once lay in a manger is the Son of Man, who loves each of us so dearly that He was willing to suffer for our sins and perish for our shortcomings. It is He who bowed in agony at Gethsamane, and hung from the cruel cross. It is He who wore a crown of thorns, who walked the dusty road to Calgary, straining to support the cross which would soon bear His weight. This infant whose life we celebrate is He who drank the bitter cup and gave up the ghost, whose body lay for three days in a tomb. This is the Christ, who rose again to minister unto His people. This is the Messiah, who went to look after His other sheep. This is the Anointed One, who gathers His people as a hen gathereth her chicks, and enfolds them in His wing of mercy.
This tiny little babe, whose birth we all sing about, is the Man who died for each and every one of us. But more importantly, this sweet little child is the Man who yet lives for us, who rose from the tomb that we too may arise from the dust of mortality. This is He, who lives today, who sorrows with those who sorrow, who pains with those who suffer, who cries with those that weep, who stays with those who are alone. On this Christmas day, and every day hereafter, I declare with complete and joyful solemnity that Jesus is the Christ. That He lives. That it is He whose name I bear, and his word which I declare. That He is my Savior, and the Savior of all mankind. That this wonderful and beautiful Redeemer knows our pains and trials and shortcomings, but more importantly: He loves us in spite of them. For those who have power to read my words or hear my voice, know that I know. I know that He lives, and that He, who is greater than all of us, loves us with a love that is infinite and complete. He knows and loves us perfectly, and that is the true miracle of Christmas. He lives! I leave this testimony in His name, Jesus Christ, amen.
All my love this beautiful day,Hermana Maren Jenne Bayles