President Snell’s Christmas message: Joy that lasts forever

President Snell’s Christmas message: Joy that lasts forever

(Photo: Fuller Center homeowner children in Armenia.)

This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.” — Jesus

It’s Christmastime, the season of joy. We’re surrounded by joyful images—the face of a child on Christmas morning, the carols and cookies and the traditions of the season. These are the things that make it the most wonderful time of the year. I have memories that I cherish of Christmases past. It is truly a season of joy.

And yet, I’m not sure that this is the joy that Jesus promises to those who keep His commandment that we love one another. His is the more profound joy born of righteousness, of loving one another. And he gives us ideas of how that love can be expressed. He tells us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to house the poor (that last one is from The Fuller Center translation). It’s not enough to simply say, ‘I love you,’ although we could do a lot more of that. The love we show is love in action, in small acts of kindness, in putting aside our hurts and anger, in reaching out to those in need. In all these things we demonstrate the love that Jesus would have us show one another.

K’Hairi

We had a touching example of love in action with our little friend K’Hairi. K’Hairi is eight years old and lives in the Chattahoochee Valley, near where Millard was born and raised. Every year, when it was his turn to sit on Santa’s lap, he asked for a nice house for his mother. This year a horde of Santas made that dream come true and now K’Hairi and his mother have a decent place to call home. But that’s not the end of the story. This year K’Hairi was free to ask for anything he wanted—his previous requests had been met. So what did he ask for? That every child might have a decent home.

Fuller Center volunteers and donors are working hard to make K’Hairi’s latest wish come true. They are demonstrating love every day of the year all around the world by their sacrifices of time and treasure. And the results are profound. Thousands of children will wake up this Christmas morning in houses that are decent and secure because of the gifts that have been given. Hundreds of families now have a home that’s solid and clean and protects them from the elements, a place where they can raise their children in dignity. It’s a tremendous blessing.

It’s also a blessing for those whose gifts of labor and funds make the houses possible. By following Jesus’ commandment that we love one another, our volunteers and donors are entitled to that special kind of joy. I’m forever grateful to these kind souls and my prayer this Christmas is that His joy remains in them and that their joy is full.

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2016 Christmas message: Love one another and experience true joy

2016 Christmas message: Love one another and experience true joy

It’s Christmastime—the season of joy. It’s a time when we make an extra effort to be kind and giving. A quick look at the scriptures tells us why joy and these nobler traits are so much a part of Christmas.

Jesus spoke of joy in a conversation with his disciples on the night before he died. He told them, “If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; … these things I have spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” He went on to say, “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.”

The message is a simple one—if we keep the commandment to love another we will experience the joy of the Lord. That’s profound. I’m sure that the joy Jesus talks about is deeper than the many joys we share during the holidays, and while those joys are good and meaningful how wonderful it would be to have Jesus’ joy in our hearts.

Jesus taught us a number of ways that we can show love to one another—we can forgive, we can reach out to the poor and afflicted, we can help a family in need to have a decent home (He might not have actually mentioned that last one, but I’m sure He would approve!). Loving one another is not that hard to do.

All of us here at The Fuller Center for Housing wish you and yours a joyous Christmas. As you reach out to bless others, may the joy of the Lord fill your heart.