There is joy in Christmas. There is joy in Christ.
In October 2016 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared the following experience of Eliza R. Snow, second General President of the Relief Society.
“Because of Missouri’s infamous extermination order, issued at the onset of the grueling winter of 1838, Eliza and other Saints were forced to flee the state that very winter. One evening, Eliza’s family spent the night in a small log cabin used by refugee Saints. Much of the chinking between the logs had been extracted and burned for firewood by those who preceded them, so there were holes between the logs large enough for a cat to crawl through. It was bitter cold, and their food was frozen solid.
That night some 80 people huddled inside that small cabin, only 20 feet square (6.1 meters square). Most sat or stood all night trying to keep warm… Eliza recorded: “Not a complaint was heard—all were cheerful, and judging from appearances, strangers would have taken us to be pleasure excursionists rather than a band of gubernatorial exiles… She declared: “That was a very merry night. None but saints can be happy under every circumstance.” (Joy and Spiritual Survival, Gen. Conf., Ensign, Nov. 2016.)
President Nelson exclaimed: “That’s it! Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!
“My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”
“When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy…”
- We can feel joy despite pandemics, illness, quarantines, or loss of loved ones.
- We can feel joy living with 80 people in a freezing cabin.
- We can feel joy no matter where we serve or how long we serve.
- We can feel joy despite job losses or financial difficulties.
- We can feel joy during political unrest, riots, or protests.
President Nelson continues: “What will you and I be able to endure as we focus on the joy that is “set before” us? What repenting will then be possible? What weakness will become a strength? What chastening will become a blessing? What disappointments, even tragedies, will turn to our good? And what challenging service to the Lord will we be able to give?”
President Nelson promises: “Every day that you and I choose to live celestial laws, every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours.”
May we find and feel that joy this Christmas season and in every circumstance each and every day.