Friday, December 18, 2009

What if?

As writers, every time we sit at the computer to compose, we deal with the concept of "what if?" But I play a game of "what if?" when I'm driving or doing busy work that uses only hands - even when I'm not creating a story. At this special Christmas time of year, I like to use a different wrinkle on that concept.

What if the Savior returned today? What if He came back on the anniversary of His birth? (Of course, we know that would be in the spring, but for the sake of the game, I use the traditional celebration date.)

Am I prepared for that "great and dreadful" day? Will it be great for me - or dreadful? This vein of thought takes me next to the question of what do I have to do different to make it great. At our stake women's conference, Elder Reynold's introduced a new concept to us - one I hadn't thought of before. And it is this concept that is going to make it easier for me to be ready when He really does return.

In Daniel 6:18, King Darius spends the night fasting for Daniel when his friend and advisor is thrown into the lion's den for praying to his God in defiance of the decree Darius signed without thinking of its consequences. Elder Reynolds said as he contemplated Darius's fast through the night, he wasn't impressed. We always fast through the night. So he must have been fasting from something other than food. We are told that his musical instruments were not brought to him, neither did he sleep. So he apparently fasted from at least those three things.

Elder Reynolds then broached the possibility of us fasting from things other than food as a way to improve ourselves. The thing that stuck in my mind as I listened was fasting from negative thoughts and attitudes. Especially at this time of year, my heart needs to be filled with love and charity and forgiveness and my mind should be filled with noble and generous thoughts, not criticisms and judgments.

As I carried this train of thought forward doing the "what if?" game, I was struck at what a great way to work toward becoming perfect,"even as I am," as we have been commanded to do. So just for today, I will try to be as perfect as I can be in every way. I don't have to it again tomorrow if I don't want to, but for today, I will fast from all things negative, from all things that don't turn me to my Savior, from music and people or places where I wouldn't take Him if He were beside. Just for today....I can do that.

I love this special time of year. The air is filled with more love and beautiful Christmas carols, and we are thinking more of our Savior than we might be at other times, so I hope we can be more perfectly in tune with our Lord and Savior. My prayer for each of you is that the "what if's in your lives all lead to good things for you and your families.

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