Collectively and individually, you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened.
Do not turn away in pride, fear, or guilt from the One who seeks only the best for you and your loved ones. Come before your Eternal Creator with open minds and hearts and discover the blessings of the gospel anew. Be vulnerable to divine grace.
At the heart of divine love is sacrifice-the willingness to be diminished so that another may be increased. This is the meaning of Christ on the cross. God, who could have insulated himself from pain, descended to earth, assumed the aspect of his children, and bore the greatest pain in his own person. Rather than hoard the heavenly feast for himself, he invites beggars to his table. He breaks bread with us and drinks from the cup our lips have touched. When he speaks to us, it is no longer from a great white throne, centered in a vortex of light, surrounded by celestial griffins, warding off the unwashed. He speaks to us eye to eye, from a traitor’s gibbet, with his blood and sweat and shame upon him for all to see, and with his wounds forever open. He comes not as king, but as slave. He comes not as judge, but as accused. He comes not as patriarch, but as bastard. He comes not to punish us, but to let us punish him. He does not ask us to love him until we are first certain that he loves us. He is the great failure who saves us from our success. He is the great fool who spares us from our wisdom. He is the rejected lover who will not, in turn, reject his love. He is a prophet without honor, a citizen of a despised nation, a poor relation, an unwanted guest. He is the voice of one crying in the wilderness of every human heart. He is the God of grief and sorrow who is the joy of our desiring. He is utterly good because he loves us in our sins and imperfections, because he freely made himself equal to us, and because he freely opened the way whereby we may be made equal to him.--Paul Toscano's "Priesthood Concepts in the Book of Mormon," Sunstone (Dec. 1989): 17.