But I should stop talking about Christmas and focus on Easter, though they are both celebrations of Jesus Christ. So I guess they're sorta related.
I suppose I should share a little bit about my thoughts on this holiday and my own personal beliefs. I'm a Mormon. That's not a hidden fact from most everyone I know. And, believe it or not, we believe in Jesus Christ and a Heavenly Father (but unlike many faiths, we do believe that they are two separate entities. Oh, and the Holy Ghost is His own person/spirit too). And I believe that Jesus atoned for our sins and died for them, and ultimately rose from the dead as a resurrected being and still exists to this very day.
I have such a strong testimony in the Atonement. But in church today, a question was asked of all of us during the last hour (Relief Society for all you who are LDS): "Was there a moment in your life where you truly felt the Atonement?" And I sat there, wanting to raise my hand and participate, but...I couldn't. I could not pinpoint one moment in my life where I felt the overwhelming feeling that Christ was beside me, lifting my burdens. I didn't have a tear-jerking story, an uplifting tale...nothing. And I remember sitting there and feeling a little lame.
After we got home from church, I told Ryan this exact story and he said something that I will be forever grateful for: He told me that I didn't need a story or a life-changing moment. The fact that I have a testimony now without something big and bold is what counts. He also said that all of the prophets in the Bible/Book of Mormon that had a life-changing experience didn't need that to convert (except maybe Alma the younger). They were already strong in the gospel when those moments occurred. And so even though I wished I had one of those great moments that other people have, I feel comforted that I didn't need some grand gesture to get me to believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Even though I haven't had some outrageous sin yet to repent of, I am so relieved and happy to know that if I need to, it is possible and to be forgiven. And even though I haven't suffered an extreme sorrow that leaves me hopeless, I am blessed to know that He will be right there with me. This of my all-time favorite passages, and it relates to the Atonement so well:
"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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Today was a great day to reflect on my own personal beliefs and how much I appreciate everything in my life. Even though I'm not close to my immediate family, I have a family here close by that is absolutely wonderful and they were so welcoming of me when I married into the family. Ryan's aunts and uncles and grandparents (and parents/siblings too!) are some of the greatest people I know and I love how comfortable I am around them. They probably won't ever be a perfect replacement for my family, but it's a great alternative!
I hope you all had a great Easter Sunday and I hope that you were able to spend time with loved ones like I did!