Monday, December 29, 2014

Irons and Feasts--CHRISTMAS 2014

Well, it's come and gone, but Christmas 2014 was the best!!!!!!!! On Christmas Eve we had two baptisms that went super well. Louisa and Erin--they've both been learning for over a year, but they've finally made the decision to make covenants with their Father in Heaven. The services went super awesome. It was great to be able to see how happy they were, how nervous they were, and how much they've changed in the time that I've known them! :) 
We had SO MUCH FOOD on Christmas Day. First round=All of the American Christmas candy that packages from home brought. Second round=Feast at the Schollenbergers. Totes delicious :) Third round=Christmas Party at Brian Che's, where the elders were requested to sing. We'd sung "Silent Night" the night before at the baptism, first two verses Chinese, third verse English, and at the Christmas Party at Brian Che's we performed it again. I'm so grateful for the chance that we have at Christmas to be with awesome friends and family! Christmas is the best :)
A couple weeks ago, as I was ironing a shirt/pondering Christmas, I got a nice little realization. So the iron I was using is one of those kinds that has a little area for water. If you fill it up with water, the iron works 100 times better. The steam helps speed up the ironing process and makes the shirt look so much nicer and cleaner and less wrinkled. It also helps to magnify the heat. Without the water, the ironing job isn't much good at all.
The same is true in life. We all know that we're going to have trials and hard times--the almost unbearable heat of Life's Iron. But when we add the Water of Life--even Jesus Christ--our trials take on a very different nature. They still exist, to be sure, but they're different. They're not there just to make us miserable or destroy us--they're there to refine us and iron us out. With that Water present, the heat seems to be magnified, but the resulting steam enables us to smoothed out. It enables those trials to flow by quicker. It allows us to see that there is actually a reason for Life's Iron. It's not just something to heat things up--it's something that's meant to make us better.
Thanks to Christ, we have purpose in life and we find purpose in trials. Do I like trials? Not one bit. But do I know why I have them? Or rather, do I know why I need to have them? Yes. I know that they're there to help me be better. Thanks to Christ, they're not permanent. They're not fatal. They're refiner's fires, the irons of life that mend and make us. Thanks to Christmas, we have Christ, and thanks to Christ, we have everything else :)
I love you all so much and hope that you had a magnificently great and grand Christmas! Keep on keeping on! Happy New Year! :)
Mai Zhanglao

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