Sometimes Treading Water Is a Victory

By Karen Austin

I already wrestle with anxiety, and COVID-19 has provided a number of opportunities for my anxiety to spike. My adult children have returned home to ride out the quarantine with me and my husband.  I teach classes at two local universities, which I am now doing online before 8 am since my husband and daughter …

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Sweet, Sad December

By Megan Wilcox Goates

I have a theory about Christmases past. It is this: most happy Christmases blend together. It’s the hard years that stand out. Somebody stitch that on a throw pillow for me. Is vinyl lettering as home decor still a thing? Stick this on the wall near the Christmas tree: Happy Christmases…meh. It reminds me of how …

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Swelling With Pride

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

In July my ward swells to double its size. The church building is situated near the entrance to the Uintah National Forest in Utah which is a mecca for 4th of July and Pioneer Day campers, vacationers and reunion groups. The deacons have the distribution of the sacrament down to a science. On those “standing …

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Lessons from Easter Mourning

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

It’s hard to mourn on Easter Sunday. I sat last Sunday listening to General Conference hearing the story of the Greatest Consolation Ever, listening to alleluias, smelling lilies…with red eyes and a broken heart. The news of my dear friend (I’ll call him “Job”) and his out-of-nowhere tumor/sudden surgery/aggressive cancer/grim prognosis was fresh and raw. …

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Robin Tanner Markanich graduated from BYU in Broadcast Journalism and worked in TV news in Washington DC where she fell in love, literally and figuratively. Her Virginia-born husband tricked her into a life on the opposite side of the country in the Pacific Northwest. Robin is an Arizonan at heart who craves flip flops year round, taco stands and lime Cokes. She blogs at lovingcake.wordpress.com

To me, the advent of Christ is essentially a story of deliverance.

Generally we celebrate that deliverance on Easter Sunday much like the Jews celebrate the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage during Passover. But the sacrifice of the grown Son of God began with the birth of the infant Jesus child.

My favorite Christmas carol is the Advent Hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Emmanuel meaning God with us is a name-title given in Isaiah as a sign of God’s deliverance.

The hymn speaks of Christ’s ransoming of captive Israel. It speaks of Christ freeing us from Satan, and giving us victory over the grave. The repeating refrain is an invitation for us to rejoice. Despite the realities of this life, even the horrors of the past week, we have cause to rejoice for Emmanuel is promised to come to us. He has and he does.

Light is used throughout our canon as a symbol of Christ. Light has preceded heavenly messengers, miraculous answers to prayer and pivotal conversions. Light is also at the center of the Christmas Story.

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By Melissa Young

Recently a friend of mine quoted a hymn text that I didn’t recognize in a funeral talk: Do thou, O Lord, anoint mine eyes That I may see and win the prize. My heart is full; mine eyes are wet. Oh, help me, Lord, lest I forget. So may my soul be filled with light …

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