Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Preparations for Christmas

[December 1-7, 2015]

Wednesday 2 December 2015
On my way up to the temple this afternoon I got caught in a downpour. Fortunately 1) I had an umbrella, and 2), it's only about 100 yards from the Hospedaje to the Temple. We're approaching the rainy season here, and Cochabamba needs it. It's been pretty dry.

Friday 4 December 2015
We got a strand of Christmas lights to decorate the apartment. We hung them up - quite festive. Christmas here will be quite different - summertime, 80 degree days, no snow, etc., but I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

Adding some Holiday cheer to our apartment.
Sunday 6 December 2015
Today was a "Día de Peaton y Bicicleta en Defensa de la Madre Tierra", so we had Fast and Testimony meeting and Sunday School here at the Hospedaje since no taxis, trufis, or buses are running.

Monday 7 December 2015
We went on an adventure today - took Trufi 207 out to Av. Blanco Galindo past where Heroinas ends. There's a Hipermaxi out there I wanted to check out, and this was a good excuse for an adventure. We walked back to IC Norte to get some groceries, and took Bus 3 home from there.
It was a beautiful day - maybe in the 80's, but with enough of a breeze to make it very lovely.

Bridge over Av. Blanco Galindo, which leads to Quillacollo.
View back towards downtown Cochabamba from the bridge above. You can see the Cristo statue in the distance.
As we were walking, we saw this park:

Cochabamba has many parks, but due to the dryness of the climate, the grass is almost always brown. There are many trees, though, as you can see, and playground toys in many of the parks. If the water situation was a bit better, these would all be lovely.

For FHE tonight, President Jensen gave the lesson, and focused on three messages:

1) December is special for many reasons. In addition to Christmas and the commemoration of the Savior's birth, we focus on family, on reviewing the past year, on celebrating with others. He also indicated how much he appreciated Tithing Settlement, and having had parents who always paid their tithing, even in hard times.

2) He talked about Symbols and Types, and reviewed a document that he had obtained some time ago:
Symbols and Types Associated with the Birth of Jesus Christ

  • He who was called "the life" (John 14:26) was born inthe springtime (see D&C 20:1) when life was renewed.
  • He who was called the "new David" (see Jeremiah 23:4) and the "root of David" (Revelation 22:16) was born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Luke 2:11).
  • He who was called "the bread of life" (John 6:48) was born in Bethlehem (Hebrew: the house of bread).
  • He who was called the "Lamb of God" (John l:29) was born in a stable and laid in a manger (Luke 2:7,12) where lambs gathered.
  • He who taught that whosoever humbleth himself should be exalted (see Matthew 23:12) came into the world in the humblest of circumstances (see Luke 2:7).
  • At the birth of Him who is called the "light of the world" (John 8:12), darkness was banished as a sign of His Birth (see 3 Nephi 1 :15, 18).
  • At the birth of Him who is called the "bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16), a new star appeared in the heavens (see Matthew 2:2, 7 ,9; 3 Nephi 1 :21).
  • At the birth of Him who is called the "Good Shepherd" (John 10:14), shepherds were the first to receive the announcement of His birth (see Luke 2:18-16).
  • Both Mary and Joseph were commanded by revelation to name the child Jesus (see Matthew 1:23;Luke 1:31.) Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew Joshua (savior, deliverer).
  • At the birth of Him who is called "Savior" (Luke 2:11) and the "Prince of Life" (Acts 3:15), the lives of those who were facing death for their belief in Him were saved by His birth (see 3 Nephi 1 :4- 19)

3) He then read Isaiah 53:4-5, and referred to a talk by President Hinckley, found in the December 2000 Ensign:
"The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas"
"This is the wondrous and true story of Christmas. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea is preface. The three-year ministry of the Master is prologue. The magnificent substance of the story is His sacrifice, the totally selfless act of dying in pain on the cross of Calvary to atone for the sins of all of us.
"The epilogue is the miracle of the Resurrection, bringing the assurance that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
"There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection."
He then had us review all of the Christmas Hymns (201-214) in the hymnbook for references to the Atonement. It puts a bit of a different emphasis on Christmas, and was a very good reminder for all of us of the importance of the Atonement, and how we can celebrate His birth even more by remembering His complete mission here on the earth and how important that was for all humanity.

The flowers and shrubs around the temple are all in full bloom:

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