First, I want to express my gratitude to Marsha, et al for allowing me the privilege to post here every other week. I've learned and grown a lot in the give and take of comments, as well as in the postings of my fellow ANWA sisters. I will have absolutely no excuse in the new year not to keep up with my own personal blogging (First New Year's Resolution).
Second, I look forward with excitement to the opportunity to meet many of you for the first time at the conference in February. I'm escaping the cold of the Northwest to fly south at the end of February for a welcome and warm respite among fellow writers.
Finally, my true Christmas wish for all of us this year developed as I studied the early chapters of Alma these past few days. By chapter 5, the people of Zarahemla, having been greatly blessed with prosperity, were now turning on each other. There was contention both within and without the church, so much so that Alma appointed another to act as chief judge and went about to preach among the people full time as their high priest. He began by putting a series of questions to them designed to prick their conscience. Perhaps the most important are listed in Alma 5:14--"And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"
These are questions we need to ask ourselves over and over, at least weekly when we take the Sacrament, if not daily. At this Christmas time, when we celebrate the condescension of God in taking on mortality in the vulnerable form of a helpless baby, may we all strive through His atonement to aspire to be reborn of God--to change our lives to the point where we, indeed, have his image in our countenances. That's my Christmas wish.