Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"I'll be home for Christmas . . . " (Vanatter Christmas 2008)

The family at Kyle's blessing

Carrie & Sydney

Carrie & Scott Motley

Ryan, Kyle, and Sean Motley

Ryan, swinging and jumping

Sean, swinging and jumping

Kyle, jumping

"Awake...I am come to declare...glad tidings of great joy." (Vanatter Christmas 2008)

[ Becky wrote our Christmas letter this year. ]

Greetings family and friends,

Our thoughts over the last year have been enlightened by the events of the world. We sense a need for greater spiritual strength in the face of overwhelming adversity. Our Stake President recently made the observation using a line graph that the increase of evil in the world parallels the increase in the building of temples—good and evil both on the rise. I think the case can also be made that the amount of good and evil trail the breakthrough of the Information Age. Our choices in this life have never before been so vast… the choice to live a life in pursuit of an inner strength to become a person of integrity or the choice to live a life in pursuit of every carnal whim. Each would claim its victory in the pursuit of happiness, but one would give lasting joy —eternal— joy and happiness while the other gives fleeting pleasure and feeble attempts at lasting joy.

“Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.” (Prov. 15: 21, 23)

Joy is what this season is all about beginning with our inspired Thanksgiving holiday. Giving thanks seems to be a fitting opening prayer to a season where the hearts of the men, women, and children through out the world in all religions seem to be drawn toward heaven. As you read the following, may your Christmas season be filled with the spirit of Christ and the glory of His birth, His life, and His eternal sacrifice for all mankind.

“And [Jesus] said unto me: Awake, and hear the words which I shall tell thee; for behold, I am come to declare unto you the glad tidings of great joy.” (Mosiah 3: 3)

“Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!” (D&C 128: 23)

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock [speaking of Christ] of our salvation.” (Ps. 95: 1)

“Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it unto all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy; yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto us.” (Alma 13: 22)

My simple prayer for this sacred season is that we will awake to the glory of the Savior, and shout for joy and sing praises unto the Lord… as we all are his angels—each with our own divine spark of trailing glory which had its beginning in the life before this.

Our joy in Christ is fulfilled in our eternal family—in our strivings to come unto Him. Here are some of the joys we recount this year.

A Year of Learning—one of our greatest joys and past times…

New arrivals:
Scott and Carrie became the proud parents of their third son Kyle Reese Motley—named for Carrie’s ‘Reese’ ancestry—in 1853 the Reese family migrated from England to America and then walked across the plains to settle in Cache Valley in order to be with the Saints. There, John Reese built the first log cabin in what is now known as Hyrum, Utah. Kyle will need that legacy of faith, determination, and hard work in the world he will come to know.

New Callings to Serve the Lord:

  • Scott V. continues to serve as second counselor to a new bishop
  • Becky was released as Relief Society President and is now serving in the Washington D.C.
  • Temple and teaching the Gospel Instruction Course
  • Scott Motley was called as second counselor in the bishopric
  • Carrie shifted from being in the Young Women Presidency to an advisor—a real super mom!
  • Sydney serves in the Washington D.C. Temple and on the Activities Committee

New Jobs:

  • Sydney is now the Government Affairs Assistant for the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers at aiam.org
  • Everyone else is maintaining the same ol' routines

New Challenges:

  • Sydney continues the quest to find that special one… Her calendar is always full; Learned about Europe on her two week tour; and loved taking pictures—starting to sell a few and is looking to increase her talents with her new computer.
  • Carrie is blogging and getting the new baby and school routine down with Ryan in kindergarten this year; enjoying her second home—her new Toyota van; what amazing boys she has—an AMAZING mom… My favorite memory this year was singing Primary songs while pushing Sean on the swing and taking Ryan and Sean to meet their new baby brother and listening to them sing Primary songs to Kyle. It was a truly sacred moment filled with inexpressible joy.
  • Scott Motley worked tirelessly as a zip code director for the passage of Prop 8 in California—an amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. He is also weathering the country’s financial crisis—superbly I would add… his cancer is gone… all is well... Scott and Carrie’s church was attacked [ . . . ]—a sad chapter in American politics…
  • Becky (me) learned to fill my extra time and the hole in my heart with gardening this summer—what a joy it was to cherish each new flower and each new blade of grass… I get the meaning of toiling by the sweat of my brow to bring forth that which is beautiful and good; near tragedy one evening as I stepped out the back door and was greeted with the back end of a skunk—tail and all were perched and ready for fire… near heart failure.
  • Scott’s father passed away in January. Scott's love and perspective have brought such comfort and love to his family… A very enjoyable family reunion in spite of the circumstances.

A year in which the eternal cycle of life in which God’s eternal plan for us all grows brighter as our learning deepens through life’s experiences…

May the Love of the season comfort you throughout the year, and may you choose to draw nearer unto Him and find the joy He is anxious to share with you…