"Guys, Young Women's in excellence isn't until December, but I want each of us to do something different this time. Instead of just standing up and saying something we did for personal progress, I want each of us to pick something that will help us grow closer to Christ."
A week later.
"Oh, and we're memorizing The Living Christ."
If any of you know my Papa Smurf, you might know his knack for memorizing. In his mind are a plethora of inspiring poems, conference quotes, and scriptures. When we travel, all he brings is his phone and a conference transcript. In his phone, he has saved a list of quotes he wants to memorize, and one by one, by that end of the plane ride, he usually has knocked out ten or so.
So as my mother and I embarked on the daunting task to memorize such a large and sacred document, I hoped that maybe my dad's "sponge memory" would shine through.
It was more difficult than I hoped. We were supposed to memorize a paragraph every two weeks, and each Sunday I'd go to church feeling inadequate and unprepared.
As we go halfway through, a leader saw our struggle and invited us to go to her house each Sunday after church to practice together. We went over the parts we stumbled on, and made up silly signs for the things we couldn't remember.
For a few months, each morning when I got up, I recited The Living Christ along with a man reciting it in a podcast. Those early moments in my bathroom were, and are still precious to me. Simply because of the love of the Savior that I felt in there, his sweet spirit saying, "Aubrey, I am here. I am the Living Christ. I will always be here when you need me."
Last Wednesday the youth went to Temple Square. As we squished on couches surrounding The Christus, sweet Abbie leaned over and said, "Sister Clark? Could we recite The Living Christ in front of the Christus?"
After a thumbs up from the missionaries, we all stood up there, and began.
"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice."
Tears began welling up in my eyes as I stared around the room. I looked at the moon and the stars, the world beyond measure. I stood next to my Savior, as the realization filled my soul that of all the immeasurable people in this world, He knows me. He loves me. He will never forget me.
The words that I had uttered almost robotically for months now had a divine purpose, to bear testimony that He lives. That He is our Lord and Savior and that, after this holiday season, we can never be so foolish as to forget that.
"...Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.
God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."