Saturday, December 7, 2013
Wife Rule #166: Things Change
2013 has been a year of many changes for our family. Most of them were good. For example, Rachel began middle school, and Charity began Kindergarten. Andrew was baptized, and Dawn and Rachel got their first church callings, Dawn as president of the Beehive class (about 20 of them!), and Rachel as first counselor to Dawn's replacement. Summer found her courage to talk to grownups in our neighborhood, and Scott began enjoying piano lessons. I was released after seven years of service in the elders quorum presidency, and my wife taught herself to play the accordion (a little). Perhaps happiest of all, our little Lily was born and delights us all with a constant barrage of smiles and coos and her intense gaze with those bright, wide-open eyes. Our home has never felt fuller and our lives have never felt busier.
Some changes are not so good. For example, we no longer fit into our minivan; we've been shopping for larger vehicles and so far have found nothing that we like, so we've been driving two cars a lot. Certain things are starting, of necessity, to drop out of our lives; we all find ourselves having to choose which of our many interests are most important to pursue, for lack of time to do everything. Scott broke his arm for the first time. And far more significantly than these other things, my father passed away early this year. My wife and I have lost all of our grandparents, and my kids have now lost their grandpas on both sides. I'm the living patriarch of my little family, as are my brothers in their respective families. It's all too much, much too soon.
Then there are those things, some good and some not so good, that remain constant: the laundry, for one. Dishes to be washed. Gas tanks to be filled. The bustling from place to place. My job (thankfully) at a great company, working with great people. The struggle to balance ever-present priorities, perpetually pulling us all in too many different directions. Faithful friends. Weekly date nights (gotta have 'em). Our wonderful mothers. The way our kids surprise us with what they learn and the talents they develop. Many holiday traditions. The comfort we receive from the scriptures. The power of prayer. The increasingly vital roles that family dinners, family scripture reading, family prayer, weekly family home evenings, and family church attendance play in keeping balance in our lives. Most of all--definitely most of all--the staying power of the Savior in our lives.
He lives. His atonement is real. The constancy of His love is vital to survive the ever changing world around us. The principles of His gospel do not change. His commandments are as true today as they were two thousand years ago, when he said "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, love one another" (John 13:34). He is still "the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death" (Mosiah 16:9).
At Christmastime, we celebrate the birth of a baby boy. He arrived pure and innocent, as all babies do. But in stark contrast to the rest of us, He remained pure and innocent until His last breath, when He gave his life as a ransom for us all. He truly carried the weight of the world on His able shoulders. He gave all and conquered all. He did it for us, to provide a means for us to escape the consequences of both our own sins, and the effects of the fallen world around us. His grace is sufficient for us--for all of us.
It is because He is the Savior that we celebrate His birth. As the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley so beautifully stated, "There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection." (see http://www.lds.org/ensign/2000/12/the-wondrous-and-true-story-of-christmas)
My wife and I testify of His reality, and the power of His atonement. Without Him there would be no light, no hope, no life in this world. Because of Him, we'll see our dads again, in the flesh, and embrace them warmly. Because of Him, our precious little ones will always be ours. Because of Him, we are a forever family. Because of Him, we'll rejoice in those good things that never change; and we'll survive the many changes that come, both good and bad. Because of Him, we have a vibrant hope for that greatest of all changes: to be lifted from our fallen, mortal states into perfected, immortal glory.
And that's the kind of change we can live for.