59. Merry Christmas!

2014.12.21.AGH.Concert.nonette

Double Quartet at the Missionary Christmas Fireside, St. George Tabernacle, December 21, 2014

 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

This week has been a whirlwind! With all the changes and the Christmas preparations, I have hardly had a moment to breathe! And it’s not over! I love it. 🙂

This last week we had our transfers, so I am safe and sound and hitting the ground running in Washington Fields with my new companion, Sister Liu! We are off to a great start. We have already gotten lost in our area together, been directed to drive across a corn field by our GPS (we didn’t, just in case you were wondering), and had some fantastic and miraculous meetings and lessons with incredible people.  We have also successfully tackled the missionary Christmas Fireside that we performed in last night! More details on that in just a moment. All I can say is that it is good to be here, it is good to be a missionary, and I am so grateful for this season.

This last weekend was marvelous! So busy. We had 2 ward Christmas parties on Friday and Saturday and went Ward Christmas Program hopping on Sunday. We started the day by singing in the ward choir in one of our wards. Beautiful music. Grateful for the Spirit helping me sightread. Then we went to another ward where the program was SPECTACULAR, made me cry–organ… Christmas carols… it will always get me, Dad–and we sat with a great Sister with whom we’d had a beautiful lesson the night before. Then we went to yet another Christmas program with an investigator. Then we rushed to meet with a bishop, a dinner appointment, and then dress rehearsal for the Christmas Fireside.

It was so good. The Spirit was strong. The Tabernacle was warm (literally, we were all overheated) in spirits and full of light. The choir sang well. I had the opportunity to be really involved.

2014.12.21.AGH.Concert.Instrumental.Quartet

The instrumental quartet

A quartet of Violin, Viola, Clarinet, and Bassoon played an arrangement of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and The Coventry Carol; a small double quartet of Elders and Sisters sang Away in a Manger;  Sister Gearheart, another beautiful missionary I serve with, and myself, sang a solo/duet on O Holy Night in a beautiful choral arrangement that filled the room with an overwhelming testimony of the Savior.

2014.12.21.Concert.AGH.Tabernacle

It was breathtaking and a privilege to be involved. I gazed around the room as we sang and was overwhelmed and so heartened to see so many familiar faces from all of the wonderful areas I have served in, including a previous companion, Sister Harper, and her parents all the way from Australia!

Sister Erin Harper, Sister Hansen, Susan and David Harper, of Sydney, Australia

Sister Erin Harper, Sister Hansen, Susan and David Harper, of Sydney, Australia

Made me cry. And the choir was filled with friends and fellow missionaries that have become some of my dearest friends. I am so blessed. And this leads me to my next thought:

I have a new favorite scripture. I discovered it during a personal study last week and I want to share it. As I let it mull around in my head over the last few days, it has started to mean more and more to me. And then the other night we met a less-active sister that we met by a miracle. She talked about having an eternal perspective as she grows older. She said that she has come to the conclusion that, as time stretches on and looks and seems shorter and shorter, your priorities start to become clearer and more focused. It becomes clear that some things just need to fall out of your life or be looked at differently and then you start to worry about what really matters. Only things that have an eternal effect. She answered a big question for me in sharing that. As the end of my mission draws nearer, my thoughts turn this way. How am I going to finish the way the Lord would have me? How am I going to do all I can? What is most important? That turned my mind, again, to the scripture. It is Mosiah 7:18-19.

In this story, a Book of Mormon king named Limhi is speaking to his people, encouraging them, and motivating them to have hope. They have been in bondage for so long, but there is finally light on the horizon because of Ammon, another Book of Mormon hero, who has discovered their city and brings the hope of deliverance and help. It reads,

“18 And it came to pass that when they had gathered themselves together that he spake unto them in this wise, saying: O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.

“19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through theRed Sea on dry ground, and fed them with manna that they might not perish in the wilderness; and many more things did he do for them.”

I guess the conclusion I draw here is that, as King Limhi says, “the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subject to our” whatever it is. Our life, our mission, our trial, our semester in school, our biology class, our whatever, is drawing to a close. But he goes on to say, “yet, I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.” Don’t let up. When something is hard (or even good!) and you can see the end near or the light ahead, don’t give up. Don’t finish the race with anything less than your very best sprint. Diligence to the end will not only make you happy, but it will bring blessings from the Lord! And the eternal perspective will always help you really focus on what really matters.

Like my experience in the Tabernacle, I was in a room filled with light, the Spirit, beautiful music, people I loved, and Christmas celebration. That was what really mattered. That’s what really DOES matter.

I love Christmas. I love it because of what it does to the world. Some people may say that it is a time when we take a break from the “real world,” but I think it is when we really see the real world. We see Christ in everything, perhaps more than we used to, when we have the right paradigm going for us, and that’s really how it should be, all the time, is it not?

I testify that Christ lives. He was born that He might live, that we might live, that we might have peace and every reason to rejoice. As the angel told the Shepherds that night as the birth of the Savior was proclaimed, I too raise my voice to say,

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

The good tidings of great joy are the many opportunities that we have to be made new, better, stronger, happier, more determined, lifted, and so much more by Christ.

Hymn of the Day

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! Screenshot 2014-12-24 11.09.30

 

 

1. Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise;
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

2. Christ, by highest heaven adored!
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Born in time, behold him come,
Offspring of the virgin’s womb,
Veiled in flesh, adored is He,
Savior through eternity!
Pleased as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, Our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

3. Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

He lives! (I wish you could see and feel my grin!) He does!

And that’s the best gift we could every be given. #Share the gift

Screenshot 2014-11-30 21.37.40Hope is real. Peace is real. And “once all things He meekly bore” for our sakes (Hymn #196 Jesus Once of Humble Birth), so that we can be lifted in what we bear. That’s the best news I have ever heard.

I love you all. I hope you can feel it! I wish you all the very Merriest Christmas!

Much love and all good things and sincere prayers and more love,
Sister Hansen

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One thought on “59. Merry Christmas!

  1. It is always wonderful to hear of your testimony and experiences. Thanks for sharing.

    Merry Christmas and Happy new year.

    Love, Mac

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