Friday, December 20, 2013

The Great Gift of Family

Why is your family important to you?

I would suggest you take a few minutes to think about this question. I love this time of year. It helps many people to refocus on the importance of family. Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as some of the other non-Christian holidays, tend to emphasize spending time as a family more than perhaps any other holidays of the year.

Family really is the center of many people's lives. Unfortunately there are a lot of things out there that distract us from our family. How many fathers and mothers go out and work countless hours to provide for children, only to learn later on that the thing that both the children and the parents wanted most, was time together?1 There are a million other things to that can distract us from that most important aspect of our lives. Sports, video games, shopping, leisure activities, and much more, if not used wisely, can be a detriment to the health of the family as a whole.

One of the great things about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is the knowledge that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to bless families and bring them together. Have you ever heard of that being a "selling point" of any other church? Great youth programs, maybe. Services that include everyone, perhaps. With the restored gospel though, we know that the focus of the church is meant to be the family. Our church is designed to help develop strong families, because the gospel that Christ originally taught was meant to create strong families.

The gospel message we have about families excites me for many reasons. It provides me a hope that through sacred covenants, I can be with my parents and siblings for eternity. You'll find a lot of other people and churches out there that believe that, but you won't find any that teach it as doctrine. This message also provides me similar hope for my future family. It brings a lot of peace to know that through faith in Christ, repentance, covenants, the Holy Ghost, and continued endurance, the challenges that you or I face in our families can be overcome. I sure make a lot of mistakes. Most of them have been made with my family. How good it is to know that those mistakes don't have to be permanent wounds to them or myself!

Families are also designed to be a support team. Have you ever thought about facing the world all by yourself? I have, and it's a scary thought. It can even be overwhelming, but as we remember that we aren't alone, that we have a family there to support us, to "have our back", those challenges become more manageable. The task at hand may not have gotten any smaller, but knowing you only have to do a part instead of the whole can change perspective.

I want to share my witness that family is one of God's great gifts to us. He cares for the individual, and the fundamental units that individuals are a part of—families. I witness that it is only through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, all of God's blessings for our families are made available. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

For more information on the importance of families, see: - Strengthening Families
The Family: A Proclamation to the World

1 A great example of this can be found in Elder Cook's talk, Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage

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