GCBC Week 13: The Transforming Power of Faith and Character

The Transforming Power of Faith and Character
Elder Richard G. Scott
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I’m still in Christmas vacation mode, so the GCBC posts’ content has been a little lean, but Elder Scott’s is the talk for this week.  Please find a few minutes sometime this week to study the talk and share what you learn from it.  And enjoy your family time.  🙂

Why I’m glad I believe in Jesus more than Santa

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a big fan of Santa.  He was a very magical part of my childhood, and his name is a very effective motivator around here during the holidays.  Today my children got a message from Santa reminding them to be good.  They nodded wide-eyed and recomitted themselves to a life of polite obedience. 

I started thinking about the difference between Santa and Jesus.  Here’s the thing.  On Santa’s plan, if I mess up, I run the risk of not getting what I wish for.  He’s kind of jolly about it and all, and come next year, he’ll give me another chance, but when it comes right down to it… it’s a completely saved-by-works-alone kind of plan.

Jesus, on the other hand, isn’t so winking and ho-ho-ho jolly, but he’s just so much more . . . well, real.  He expects the best from us, but understands our human foibles.  And even when we make mistakes, even when we’re downright stupid, he still kind of blesses us.  He extends mercy without judgment and love without condition.  I mean, sure, he’s a “judge,” but not in measuring out love or assistance.  He will help us any time we let him, even when we’ve been naughty.  When we don’t qualify for a single gift, he still offers us the greatest gifts that can ever be given:  grace, mercy, forgiveness.  Santa’s a toy maker; Jesus is a joy maker.

So Santa Claus is cool and all, but I love Jesus best.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

The season where dreams (almost) come true

A week or so ago, we were on our way home from a family outing and decided to eat out because it would be too late by the time I got dinner ready at home.  We stopped at a Chinese buffet.  Is it weird that except for when I actually lived in China, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Chinese buffet before?

Anyway, I wasn’t very impressed, but my children pigged out to an embarrassing level (Matt gave them free reign of the dessert buffet.).  Then they each got a fortune cookie as we were finishing up.  Grant opened his and started jumping up and down for joy.  He started yelling, “Yes!  I’m going to Disneyland!”  He was SO excited.  Matt and I looked at each other quizzically and I asked him for his fortune paper.  A close look revealed the following fortune:

“You will soon be traveling to a distant land.”

His hasty reading had an unfortunately over-abundant translation.

I tried to comfort him by reminding him that he had just consumed more desserts than children in most third-world countries get in a year.  Somehow that wasn’t quite as magical to him.

Personally, I think it was a nice introduction to the season where Santa politely says no to most of the things on his Christmas list anyway.  🙂

(For those of you who missed it, please join us in the  12 days of Christmas challenge! Random acts of kindness daily until Christmas. Today’s the “2nd day of Christmas.”  Click here or on the button on the sidebar for more information.)

GCBC Week 11: Temple Mirrors of Eternity

(Announcement: 12 days of Christmas challenge starts today! Random acts of kindness daily until Christmas. Click here or on the button on the sidebar for more information.)

“Temple Mirrors of Eternity: A Testimony of Family”
Elder Gerrit W. Gong
Of the Seventy

“An eternal perspective of gospel conversion and temple covenants can help us see rich blessings in each generation of our forever families.”

I haven’t read this one yet, so I’ll save my thoughts for the comment thread, but I did go to the temple last week and have to confirm that the temple actually does solidify our love for our family:  current, past and future family.

What are your favorite principles or quotes from this talk?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What stood out to you as you studied it?  And, most importantly, what did it make you feel or want to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  (If this is your first time to General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it.)