I was given a most wonderful example of what true happiness is in Sacrament today. A young boy named Jefferson spoke in church. It was his first time speaking and he was very nervous, as we all get before giving talks. But Jefferson is very special. He was born with cerebral palsey and has a difficult time walking and speaking, but you NEVER see him without a smile on his face. He loves life and loves the gospel. One of his brothers helped him speak and his message touched my heart. It was so powerful to see him on the stand giving a talk about why he loves Christmas because the Spirit just radiates from him. He is so happy, despite his setbacks.
Jefferson's example reminded me of some other wonderful examples in my life:
My uncle Kent was also born with cerebral palsey, but he never lets that slow him down. He's always up for a game of checkers and loves sports, especially when BYU's playing. He loves all of his nieces and nephews as if they were his own children. He always tries to be so helpful and is one of the kindest people I know. He is truly happy.
My cousin Jenna has down's syndrome. She is the cutest girl you'll ever meet and she has the biggest smile! When she smiles, it literally lights up the entire room. She loves her family and she especially loves being an aunt! She is the best friend you could ever ask for and she is so brave. Every time I see her, I wish I were as strong as she is because she is truly happy.
Then I started remembering people who have had very difficult situations that they've been through.
As many of you know, a ranger in our community named Brody Young was recently shot multiple times while on duty. His young family has been through so much in the past 6 weeks and they still have a long road ahead of them. Brody's wife, Wendy, and my mom are really good friends and because of this friendship, I have been able to witness Wendy's strength and the power of remaining positive, no matter how difficult a situation may be. Wendy loves her family and is doing everything she possibly can to hold her family together through this hard time. She always smiles, no matter what, and has this magical ability to look at the positive side of any situation. She is truly happy.
All of these examples from my life draw their happiness from the Ultimate Example: Christ. Christ is the reason for Christmas because He is the true source of all joy. He loves each of us individually and wants each of us to succeed. Success means something different to each of us, but I think the biggest success we can have in this life is to be truly joyful no matter what our circumstance is. That is definitely something I need to work on, but I am so grateful that I have the examples of Jefferson, Kent, Jenna, Wendy, and countless others to encourage me to smile more and be kind to people. I know that if we center our lives arount Christ we will be happy, no matter what life dishes out at us.