Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Words

I love words. I am inspired and changed by them. They have power. Meaning. Influence. Beautifully written words often bring me to tears. Whether in poetry, story, or music, I am often transformed because of a gracefully written text. Take, for example, the words from the song Bring Him Home, from the Broadway musical, Les Miserables. Sung with tender conviction, and with the depth of a passionate fatherly love, Jean Valjean sings his prayer to God to protect his daughter's lover, Marius. He offers to give his own life if necessary and later saves Marius' life in a heroic gesture. Those words have moved me to compassion and courage many times. Click here to enjoy: Bring Him Home

Photo Credit: Alan Lawrence, Paradise,  Utah
Words also impact me through writing.  When I am sad, overwhelmed, or discouraged, I write in my journal  - knowing it is just for an audience of one. This writing is therapeutic, and brings solace and clarity to my soul. I can often navigate the complicated world of emotions by exploring my feelings on paper or computer. This process brings life to hidden feelings. Sometimes when I start, things tumble out in a jumbled, disorganized way (life, after all, is messy at times). But if I keep downloading my thoughts, without any judgment from the internal critic, things eventually start taking shape. And before long, the intricacies of life - including the complexities of human relationships - begin to sort themselves out into some sort of meaningful pattern. I can then return to life's battle, renewed and refreshed.

Our Missionaries Study The Word of God
Speaking of the power of words, I noticed that the phrase "the word"  occurs some 2,050 times in holy scripture. Now that is something to notice! Hosea suggested to "take with you words and turn to the Lord" (Hosea 14:2). Another author says to take with you strong words - words with life and energy in them - moving, growing, rich words of change and encouragement (anonymous). The Prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon actually gave up an influential position in government to preach the gospel to a struggling people because he knew that "the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just".  In fact, he said, "it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of people than the sword, or anything else which had happened unto them - therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God" (Alma 31:5). The Greek root of the word virtue is "moral excellence." In other words, when we want to help others, we can offer the moral excellence that the word of God provides, because it is founded in truth.

Since the Christmas season is upon us, I've been pondering on how the Savior of the world was called The Word.  By the "power of his word" the world was created. Sometimes his Word healed people; at other times, it calmed them. On occasion, it corrected them. Always, it was motivated by love. He shared His Words even when life pressed so hard upon him. He spoke words to the lonely, the broken, the sinful, and the frightened. Sometimes He withheld His words from those who would not understand. As our missionaries open their mouths to share God's words, they are likewise met with a variety of responses...

Elder Jason R Dymock, our son,
serving in the Argentina, Neuquen Missio
Sometimes they are received - sometimes rejected.
Sometimes welcomed - sometimes shunned.
Sometimes listened to - sometimes ignored.
Sometimes loved - sometimes hated.
Yet they continue to offer the Words of Life.

Morning by morning, our missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints worldwide wake at 6:30, pray, exercise, prepare, and study; and then they go to work. They walk streets, knock doors, hold meetings, encourage, listen, and teach. They eat a little, then work again. They follow up on referrals, call back, revisit, and invite people to hear the teachings of Christ. Regardless of the outcome, they continue to offer the "virtue of the word of God." All of this is to let the world know we all can come to know the Savior. He paid the price to conquer death and sin. His great and infinite Atonement also covers our weakness, our fears, and our sorrows.

This month, I have watched our young Elders and Sisters in the Washington, Spokane (USA) Mission work diligently to teach people that the Messiah is the reason for the Christmas season. Their eyes light up with
Elders Monson & Ipson,
Two Great Spokane Missionaries
enthusiasm when someone understands that, because Christ paid the ultimate price with His life, we too can be redeemed from all that is difficult and sorrowful. They bear witness of Jesus' mission: "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind...and he will take upon him their infirmities..that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:11-12).

When my own human limitations kick in, when the darkness of depression raises its ugly head, or when I am just tired from a demanding day, I remember that Christ purposely submitted himself to the temptations and limitations of mortality so He would know how to meet our needs. I find the following words of Isaiah especially inspiring to me in moments of difficulty:
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrow: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our trans-gressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:3-6).
At this warm and wonderful Christmas season, I add my own witness to the mighty prophet Isaiah:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
The mighty God
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus

George Frideric Handel set Isaiah's prophetic words to music in The Messiah. I pray that you may be touched by this inspired music, as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Click):  For Unto Us A Child is Born 
And now as I wrap up, I finish with a two minute video. It shows children throughout the world as they share their thoughts about Christmas. Children have a succinct way to communicate powerfully through their simplicity. I invite you to enjoy these beautiful words shared by children from as they testify of Jesus Christ. (Click): A Savior is Born

Merry Christmas!

White Christmas - Dec 2010 
our Paradise, Utah Home
Consider the power
your words
might have on the world...

“A drop of ink
may make a million think.” 

I recently added a link on the right side of the blog called "Christmas Links." Warm a cup of hot chocolate, cozy up on a cold evening, and enjoy some holiday highlights of  song and inspirational video.  


Hosea 14:2 (Old Testament)
Alma 7:12 (Book of Mormon)
Virtue defined Gree:
Isaiah 9:6; 53:3-6

Photo Credits: 
Alan Lawrence, Facebook
#SharetheGift (LDS Church)
LDS Media Library


  1. Beautiful thoughts turned into powerful words-- I love it! Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your heart here on your blog. We so appreciate all you have done for the

  2. Thank you for your kind words. We treasure the time we had with your son as he served here in the Washington Spokane mission.