I am aware that this Christmas season may feel a little different than seasons past. We have seen a sharp worldwide economic downturn in the last few months, resulting in the loss of jobs, a decline in income, and pervasive instability. Stress goes up along with our credit card balances, and our spirits go down when our prospects look gloomy. And when our reserves are low, tensions run high.
So why does Heavenly Father place us in situations that stress us so much? Why is it that when we are praying daily, studying our scriptures, attending our meetings, paying our tithing, living up to our duty, and being good neighbors, we aren't protected from the slings and arrows of daily life?
Think about it this way: If we pray to never be tempted again, what will the answer be? If we plead for a stress-free life, what will we get? If we ask for all the comforts, ease, and rest that life could offer, what can we expect in return? Of course, the answer to these prayers will be No, No, and No!
No matter how distressing or uneasy we feel about it, this life is a test. The Lord can pose whatever question He wishes, or visit affliction on us whenever He desires (if we are not bringing it on ourselves). What could His purpose possibly be other than to turn us into better, wiser, stronger, and ultimately happier people?
There is, however, only one question that we really need to answer with our lives, when all is said and done: "Will I be faithful to the Lord, no matter what happens?"
If we answer Yes! with our hearts, head, and hands, we can be sure that there is no struggle we cannot overcome, no test we cannot pass, no season we cannot endure.
May we be grateful for the strength to face trials, and the wisdom to use that strength in His service this Christmas season.