Monday, December 21, 2009

It's 75 degrees...this aint gonna be an ordinary christmas

Monday, December 21, 2009
HEY EVERYONE!

This week has been an amazing week....not a lot of work done but we had a lot of special events that have been leading towards the Christmas day. But for some reason the weather hasn't necessarily agreed with the christmas season, none the less, it is one of the best times of the year.

On tuesday we had zone conference and of course it was centered on the season. We were read christmas stories, enjoyed everyones company, but the best part is that we had an AMAZING dinner haha. President Blackburn made a funny comment when his wife was reading the christmas story, he said, "all of your eyes were glued to her, if only I could get that attention" haha. Thought that was pretty funny, but I think one of the best talks that we heard that day was of President, he talked about the difference between the holy ghost and the light of christ. He first described the light of Christ and its purposes and said that it is a free gift given to all people by our Heavenly Father, to know the difference between right and wrong. It influences people to do good and it helps prepare us to receive the Holy Ghost. So in summary, its our conscience, but it most diffinitely not the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost cannot be in an unclean thing since its a member of the Godhead. He continued by saying, that the Holy Ghost witnesses of the Father and of the Son, just as the Father witnesses of both, and Jesus Christ witnesses of both, and it reveals and teaches the truth of all things. But the thing he said we need to remember is that it is a gift that solely is given if we are obidient to the commandments of the Lord, if we are not the guidance, the teaches, and our most loving companion goes away. At that point it I started thinking about the importance of being obidient and I imagined the the Holy Ghost leaving, and I picture Him in tears, not only in tears but sobbing. It reminded me of the Savior when He was on the cross and died for us and at His last breath He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." And this leads me to my Christmas thought. During Christmas we have a lot of things to do and sometimes we loose track of why we are really here and what the reason for the season is for. President Monson shared this story and I really loved it, here it is:

"Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.
It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around ticket counters, conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated. They, too, wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books.
If there was a common bond among this diverse throng, it was loneliness—pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness. But airport decorum required that each traveler maintain his invisible barrier against all the others. Better to be lonely than to be involved, which inevitably meant listening to the complaints of gloomy and disheartened fellow travelers.
The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more travelers stayed behind than made it aboard. The words “Standby,” “Reservation confirmed,” and “First-class passenger” settled priorities and bespoke money, power, influence, foresight—or the lack thereof.
Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at Gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space, as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.
Then there was a man in a finely tailored grey flannel suit who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork—figuring the year-end corporate profits, perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby, observing this busy man, might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.
Suddenly, the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.
The agent wearily told him the prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy—not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk, casting anxious looks around the crowded room as if seeking just one friendly face.
Finally the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. The travelers, who had been waiting long hours, heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: twenty, thirty, a hundred—until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.
Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”
As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase, and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.
No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at Gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility—all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.
The lights of the departing plane blinked, starlike, as the craft moved off into the darkness. The infant slept silently now in the lap of the young mother. Perhaps another flight would be leaving before many more hours. But those who witnessed the interchange were less impatient. The glow lingered, gently and pervasively, in that small glass and plastic stable at Gate 67."
It is my wish that we have that same spirit, the right spirit of Christmas, that we don't loose track of why we are really here...to learn and try to emulate the characteristics of the Savior. I know life isn't easy but neither was the Savior's, so why should it be easier for us when He sacrifced everything for us. I'm so thankful to be serving him for these two years and I can't wait to learn more about the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I witness that the spirit is with us because without it people would not be getting closer to him through our message. George, who lives with a less active, is going to get baptized January 3rd. I'm so excited for him and the best part is Lydia, the less active, is starting to come to church again! How amazing is that?!
I love you all and miss you all, as well. I know this is a special time to be with family but I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do and that is to solely serve him. There is nothing I'd rather be doing. I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and remember the reason for the season is the Savior, Jesus Christ.
With Love,
Elder Leavell

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