- We live in an “information age” that has a world of data available literally at our fingertips, yet the meaning of that information and the satisfaction of using knowledge in some moral context seems farther away for many than ever before.
He speaks of simple truths that we can find in the looking to the Savior and His simple plan.
- I testify that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life and a Well of Living Water springing up unto eternal life. I declare to those who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and especially to those who are not, that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Firstborn Son did appear to the boy prophet Joseph Smith and restored light and life, hope and direction to a wandering world, a world filled with those who wonder, “Where is hope? Where is peace? What path should I follow? Which way should I go?” Regardless of past paths taken or not taken, we wish to offer you this morning “the way, the truth, and the life.” We invite you to join in the adventure of the earliest disciples of Christ who also yearned for the bread of life—those who did not go back but who came to Him, stayed with Him, and who recognized that for safety and salvation there was no other to whom they could ever go.
- With one voice and one accord, we bear witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to satisfy ultimate spiritual hunger and slake definitive spiritual thirst. Only He who was so mortally wounded knows how to heal our modern wounds. Only One who was with God, and was God, can answer the deepest and most urgent questions of our soul. Only His almighty arms could have thrown open the prison gates of death that otherwise would have held us in bondage forever. Only on His triumphant shoulders can we ride to celestial glory—if we will but choose through our faithfulness to do so.
- To those who may feel they have somehow forfeited their place at the table of the Lord, we say again with the Prophet Joseph Smith that God has “a forgiving disposition,” that Christ is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, [is] long-suffering and full of goodness.”
He speaks of the Christlike characteristic of mercy and forgiveness. He speaks about the need for us to view the church as a place of healing.
- Mercy, with its sister virtue forgiveness, is at the very heart of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the eternal plan of salvation. Everything in the gospel teaches us that we can change if we need to, that we can be helped if we truly want it, that we can be made whole, whatever the problems of the past. Now, if you feel too spiritually maimed to come to the feast, please realize that the Church is not a monastery for perfect people, though all of us ought to be striving on the road to godliness. No, at least one aspect of the Church is more like a hospital or an aid station, provided for those who are ill and want to get well, where one can get an infusion of spiritual nutrition and a supply of sustaining water in order to keep on climbing.
Elder Holland speaks about our responsibility in order for mercy and forgiveness to have a place in our lives.
- Our fundamental requirement is to have faith in Him and follow Him—always. When He bids us to walk in His way and by His light, it is because He has walked this way before us, and He has made it safe for our own travel here. He knows where the sharp stones and stumbling blocks lie hidden and where thorns and thistles are the most severe. He knows where the path is perilous, and He knows which way to go when the road forks and nightfall comes.
He shares his personal testimony of how the Savior runs to us when we need help. He never turns His back on us and always provides a perfect love and unlimited support in our righteous efforts.
- I testify that in my fears and in my infirmities the Savior has surely run to me. I will never be able to thank Him enough for such personal kindness and such loving care.
He concludes with a quotes from President George Q. Cannon.
- President George Q. Cannon said once: “No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is [against] His character [to do so]. He is an unchangeable being. … He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and the purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments.”
How grateful I am to know that I have a Father in Heaven who will not turn His back on me when I am undeserving of His love. Although I may put barriers in place between Him and me, He never builds a barrier but continues to plead with me to come back to Him. His love for me is at times undeserving but He has provided a perfect path to return to Him though His Son Jesus Christ. The world needs to know that there is a path that leads to eternal life with God. The path may have it's challenges but there is always help when we make the right choices. I am going to spend this holiday season reflecting on the compassion that God has shown me and try to emulate that compassion with others that I come in contact with.