Frohe Weihnachen und alles gute für den neues Jahr!
I hope everyone`s holidays have been great so far and I hope they continue to go fantastically. Christmas over here in Germany is pretty fun. We had four eating appointments over the three days of Christmas. On Christmas Eve (or Heilig Abend) we went to the Kreuzer`s house. We had a typical German meal of Sauerbraten and Klöße. One of the traditions that they have is that everyone has to do something before opening their presents. Either sing a Christmas song or read a Christmas poem or something similar to that. Both Elder Guin and I got a ton of chocolate and 10€ to go to an Asian buffet, which we did today. On Christmas we went to the Bree`s house for lunch. There we had a nice roast and an excellent chat. They are a really cool family. The son`s name is Sven, and he served a mission in the Munich mission. What`s even more interesting is that he served a transfer (six weeks) with my trainer, Elder Anderson! So that was cool to talk with someone who shared a comp with me. Then we went over to the Spence´s house for dinner. We spent a while there and made our phone-calls home. Or rather, our families called us. Yesterday we went to Brother Hentschel`s house for 2nd Christmas (yes, it exists) and had some duck. It was pretty good. Then we came home and Elder Guin began packing, since he`s leaving this Wednesday. Speaking of which, we got transfer calls today! Now, I obviously knew that I would be getting a new companion, I just didn`t know who. It turns out that I will be…training. Well, half-training. The first two transfers of a missionary`s mission are his training, and I will be with this missionary for the last half of his training. Take a guess as to what his name is…if you guessed Elder Sanchez…you`re wrong. I will be training Elder Anderson. Yup, he has the same name as my trainer. I`m pretty excited. So I will be senior companion and training, and I`m going to be only in my fourth transfer. I`m a tad nervous, but I`m also glad that I`ll be the one setting the work-pace. It`ll be a great transfer I`m sure.
So I said I`d send a Christmas message this week, and I didn`t even think about what to write. There are tons of things to think about when someone asks what Christmas is about. The simplest answer is that we think about Christ and his birth, This is very true, but there is so much more than that. For example, why do we celebrate Christ at all? What did he do that was so important? Oh nothing much really…he just suffered all of our pain and guilt and was risen from the dead so that we could become heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven and have perfected bodies. That is the “Hauptsache,” the main reason that we love and revere Christ so much. Anything and everything can be related back to the Atonement, which consists of the events that happened in Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Tomb. Prophets and civilizations waited for generations and prophesied of this great event that would redeem all mankind and enable us to progress for eternity in the presence of our Eternal Father. On that night over two thousand years ago, men and women across the earth all celebrated as they saw the sign of Christ`s coming and angels heralded the coming of our Savior and Redeemer, our King and Brother. He is called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Through him all of our burdens may be lifted, and our lives become less hectic when we ask him for help and take time to remember that we always have someone there watching us. I take comfort in this, and I cannot count the number of nights that I have hit my knees and asked for help with anything from understanding the Gospel, to understanding German, to having patience with my companion. While it doesn`t matter how long you kneel there, what does matter is the sincerity of your request, with a pure heart and real intent to act upon the things that can be revealed to you through the power of revelation. Christ is your Savior, and he is mine. So when someone asks you why you celebrate Christmas, I hope you really think about it and bear your testimony of Christ. You never know who needs to hear it, and you might change someone`s life by speaking with the Spirit.
Much love to all,