Every Christmas I look forward to singing in the ward choir and the hearing music and talks all about the birth of our Savior. I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE Christmas music. So when I realized I wouldn't be home for the Sunday Christmas program, I was pretty sad. But I convinced my wonderful dad to record the program for me!
I also really wanted to partake of the sacrament. One of the nurses informed us that usually some Elders bring it by every week. (Elders is a term for an office of the priesthood in our church and also for male missionaries). I am so thankful for this small kindness that they perform for individuals that are stuck in the hospital for however long.
Sometime midday, two elderly Elders (probably volunteers from a nearby congregation) stopped by our room with a hospital tray covered in white linen and asked us if we would like the sacrament. I felt so appreciative for their service! The previous day had been my bout with the extreme pain in my chest, and I just felt like I needed the extra strength and peace that comes with partaking of the sacrament. One Elder put a towel down on the hard floor and slowly knelt, then pronounced the sacrament prayer for the bread. The other Elder repeated the same process for the water. As they finished, one of the Elders wiped tears from his eyes, as I sat doing the same. A solemn, peaceful feeling pervaded the room.
As I sat there and pondered the Atonement of Our Savior and the upcoming celebration of His birth, I thought about all that had happened in the past couple days. The birth of my own little boy. How much I loved him. How much our Father in Heaven loves His only begotten Son, and what a sacrifice it must have been to send His Son to the earth to atone for our sins. I thought of the extreme pain I had experienced the previous day, and thought of the pains that others in the world have experienced that far surpass mine, and how I had just hoped and hoped that the pain would stop. I marveled that the Savior suffered the pains of everyone so that he could come to our aid to give us comfort during this mortal journey. But the ability to give us comfort in our earthly pains and trials is only a part of the miracle. The ability to forgive us of our sins and make us clean again is the miracle that allows us to live forever with those we love!
I thought how when we are more in tune with the spirit, and truly seeking our Father in Heaven, that we feel the pain and sorrow of sin more acutely than when we become distanced. The Savior being perfect, had a perfect understanding and feeling at the time he experienced all our pains AND our sins. I felt my understanding of His great sacrifice and sufferings deepen, although it is still miniscule.
I wondered if I felt the pain and sorrow associated with my sins as acutely as I felt the pain of the previous day, if I'd be as slow as I am sometimes to seek forgiveness. I was so quick to pray and seek help when I was in such physical pain, and when I was seeking physical help for Marshall - why am I not always in that big of a hurry to seek help when I sin?
Sitting there, the physical pain still fresh in my memory, I realized the wonder of the ability for the Savior to help and carry us in our physical pain. Yet our physical pain will "last but a moment" (D&C 121:7). Our spiritual pain can last forever, and I realize we will feel it much more acutely when we leave this mortal body. But if we seek forgiveness we can be clean, the stain will be removed, and we will live forever with the Savior and our eternal families!
I am so thankful for the birth, life and death of a beautiful baby boy in Bethlehem - JESUS the CHRIST. I know he loves little children and is standing by and watching over my beautiful baby boy, Marshall.