In the past month the following things have broken in some way:
1. My sewing machine
2. Big Screen TV
3. Transmission in our Suburban
4. Several drinking glasses
6. Washing Machine
8. Cover on the back of the toilet
The following illnesses have inflicted some members of the household:
4. Flu, again
5. Common Cold
6. Various cuts, scrapes and bruises
My Kindergarten has been kicked off the bus twice for hitting his seat partner.
My daughter is being bullied by her classmates
My twins have been officially diagnosed with ADHD
I have been hoarding serious amounts of stress in my neck!
Not to mention rain, shopping, Christmas stuff, sleepless nights, dirty dishes, clean clothes being put back in the dirty laundry because someone touched them, mountains of laundry to be washed or folded (either way it is a mountain!)
I have been asking myself why this is happening. WHY?! I have pleaded with heaven to explain to me the reasons for my torture! What did I do to deserve this?! Show me my mistakes and I promise, I PROMISE, to NEVER EVER do those things again!!! (Imagine a sobbing emoticon here)
During this time I have also been working on the program for Christmas Day. I have spent a lot of time thinking about Mary and Joseph. What did they go through? They had been visited by angels! Then Joseph had to go off to get taxed in Bethlehem.
Did they pray about this trip? Is that why Mary went along instead of having her special baby at home with her family? Were there other factors?
Let's say they did get assurance that she should go with him. They get to Bethlehem and can't find a place to stay. Then "Oh great, I'm in labor. Now what?" Did they wonder if they had made a mistake along the way? Did they ask why?
How did they feel when the Messiah was born in an animal stall? Did it break their hearts to place him in the manger because there was no where else to lay him? Did they have any self doubt?
All these things happened for a reason. They were part of God's plan, not a punishment. Did Mary and Joseph know this?
Thinking of them helped me put my own trials into perspective. As I thought of this lesson I asked once again "Did I bring this misery on myself? Did I make some choice that led me to this?" I was humbled by the realization that the answer is yes.
I did make a decision that brought me sorrow and pain and suffering. But it also brought peace and joy and love. I chose to follow Jesus Christ. I chose Heavenly Father's great plan of happiness, the plan that included mortality. I chose this mortal life of trials and temptations, suffering and sorrow. Was it a hard choice? Did I really know what I was getting into? How could I?
Now that I am here, experiencing all that life has to offer, both bitter and sweet, do I choose it still? More importantly, do I still choose Him?
Yes. YES!!! I do! Choosing Christ means choosing the path that will make me strongest. It means choosing the path that will lead me home. It means choosing the hard times. Knowing I chose Him once means I can do it again. I can face my challenges secure in the hope that I am making the right choices. It also gives me new perspective. I see these challenges a little differently. I see that I can choose how I deal with them. I also see that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will help me through them.
I also see Christmas differently. I see it not only as a celebration of the birth of our Savior but as a fulfillment of the plan. I see it as the begining of hope for all of us. In that precious moment our chance for eternal life was born.
"Joy to the world! The Lord is come!"