- I speak to those who are facing personal trials and family struggles, those who endure conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes of the heart, those trying to hold back floodwaters of despair that sometimes wash over us like a tsunami of the soul. I wish to speak particularly to you who feel your lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair.
- To all such I offer the surest and sweetest remedy that I know. It is found in the clarion call the Savior of the world Himself gave. He said it in the beginning of His ministry, and He said it in the end. He said it to believers, and He said it to those who were not so sure. He said to everyone, whatever their personal problems might be: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
He provides three examples of ways that we can come to the Savior and find rest to our souls.
- So how does one “come unto Christ” in response to this constant invitation? The scriptures give scores of examples and avenues. You are well acquainted with the most basic ones. The easiest and the earliest comes simply with the desire of our heart, the most basic form of faith that we know. “If ye can no more than desire to believe,” Alma says, exercising just “a particle of faith,” giving even a small place for the promises of God to find a home—that is enough to begin. Just believing, just having a “molecule” of faith—simply hoping for things which are not yet seen in our lives, but which are nevertheless truly there to be bestowed —that simple step, when focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever been and always will be the first principle of His eternal gospel, the first step out of despair.
- Second, we must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. In short we must repent, perhaps the most hopeful and encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with Their divine assistance. Anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior’s Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there.
- Third, in as many ways as possible we try to take upon us His identity, and we begin by taking upon us His name. That name is formally bestowed by covenant in the saving ordinances of the gospel. These start with baptism and conclude with temple covenants, with many others, such as partaking of the sacrament, laced throughout our lives as additional blessings and reminders.
Elder Holland invites us to come to the Savior personally. Nothing will be more powerful in our lives than a personal relationship with the Savior. Experiencing the love that the Savior has for us first hand will have the most powerful effect on our lives.
- My desire today is for all of us—not just those who are “poor in spirit” but all of us—to have more straightforward personal experience with the Savior’s example. Sometimes we seek heaven too obliquely, focusing on programs or history or the experience of others. Those are important but not as important as personal experience, true discipleship, and the strength that comes from experiencing firsthand the majesty of His touch.
Elder Holland tells us that there will be trials in our lives, but seeking God's guidance in those trying times will allow us to find additional strength we didn't know before.
- There can and will be plenty of difficulties in life. Nevertheless, the soul that comes unto Christ, who knows His voice and strives to do as He did, finds a strength, as the hymn says, “beyond [his] own.”
Elder Holland ends with one last plea for us to Come Unto Christ.
- If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.
I have been asked to speak on Christmas Day in our ward. This is the message that I am going to share. Whatever our circumstances, the Savior invites us to Come Unto Him. Whatever our trials, troubles, brokenness, He invites to us to lay those at his feet. He lifts us up and out of our troubles and provides us comfort during the biggest trials of our faith. He has not left us alone to figure it out on our own. He has provided angels in our lives to help us along the path. He has given us a way to find peace, but we need to make the first step towards Him, and He will be there welcoming us to His open arms.