The young, uneducated, farm boy Joseph Smith was told by the angel Moroni that his “…name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.” Indeed that proclamation has proven to be true. Today I express my gratitude for many witnesses from the Spirit that have taught me of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Those witnesses were renewed in my soul today as I listened to some beautiful music during our church service. As part of the piano/organ duet, there were a few measures played from the hymn, “Praise to the Man.” Those notes touched my heart and the Spirit witnessed to me again of the divinity of the calling of the prophet Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration. I am grateful.
For some reason I am smitten with clouds. I love the fact that they are different every single time they appear in the sky. I came across this scene on my way to work and noted the striking contrast of dark and bright elements, punctuated by the very interesting shape of the cloud. I knew at the moment, that this image would show best in black and white, accentuating the beautiful tones in the sky that morning.
The Provo Tabernacle was dedicated in 1898 by George Q. Cannon. It was the home to many cultural and religious events for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until it was destroyed by fire December 17, 2010. On October 1, 2011 President Thomas S. Monson announced that the remains of the Provo Tabernacle would be used to build the Provo City Center Temple. LDS Temples provide great blessings of light and truth to many communities throughout the world.
At its core, Christmas is about the gift of Jesus’ birth. He is our Savior and our Redeemer. He is our only sure hope in a troubled and wicked world. The temple itself, and all that is taught within the temple walls, point toward Jesus and His great mission and work to bless, uplift and redeem each of us. Therefore, the temple is the ultimate Christmas gift, a gift that helps us become more like Christ Himself. I am most grateful the temple is in our valley. Experiences in the temple have shaped my life in a powerful way, giving me greater love for and trust in the Lord.
Our happiness is a direct result of our degree of gratitude. And our ability to be grateful is a result of our effort to remember and consider our personal blessings. Too often we look beyond the blessings that stare us in the face as we hope for something more in the future. But peace and contentment will come as we remember God’s blessed gifts of the past and as we recognize His blessed offerings in our lives today. We may feel we are in one of life’s dark caves but there is always light within our reach if we will but stop to recognize and appreciate it.