Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!

Merry Christmas from Cotonou, Benin, West Africa

As missionaries, we live closer to the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ, so, with fewer distractions this year, it is easier to keep Christ in Christmas. When Luke recorded in Chapter 2 verse 11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” it was a new beginning leaving the law of Moses behind and ushering in the fullness of the gospel. Christ taught us how to live, how to treat and respect others, the joy of service, how to organize the church and even resist temptation. Most of all, through His atoning sacrifice we have the opportunity to repent and live with Him once again. We miss all of our family terribly but at the same time, we are so grateful for the knowledge that family bonds extend beyond this life because of the message we celebrate at Christmas, the same message we have the privilege of bringing to some of these people who have not been as fortunate as we have been.

We have been thinking of the humble characteristics of our Savior and how they can be applied to our own lives. We urge each of you to take a few minutes with your family and make a list of Christ-like attributes that you love and will try to emulate. These are some that are important to us: Christ was no respecter of persons. He taught all who would listen. He healed the lame , the lowly and despised. He loved little children the elderly and all those in between. He taught simply so those who were receptive of His message could understand. He showed no bitterness to those who persecuted Him. He showed appreciation to those who were His followers. He cared about His earthly mother. He spoke kindly and lovingly. Everything about the Savior of the world, from being born in a stable to being buried in a borrowed tomb was humble and lowly, yet his life and teaching have affected more people in more profound ways than any other man who has ever lived on the earth.

We love and appreciate all of you and the strength we feel from your support and encouragement while we are in Africa. Life is hard here, not so much for us but for those who live here. Here, there are few decorations, lights, Christmas trees, or gifts for exchange. Christmas is just another day to try to find enough to feed yourself or your family and to keep a roof overhead, however shabby that roof may be. Christmas in Blanding surrounded by family, friends and abundance will never be the same for us. While we enjoyed it so very much before, we will remember from our experience here in Africa to be sure to enjoy it even more in the future and to always be grateful for what our Lord has given to us by his life and his death.

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