It was a day I shall never forget. We arrived on the hill overlooking Bethlehem while it was yet dark. What would it have been like the day Jesus was born? Snowy, wintry paradigms would soon melt away with the rising of the sun.The beautiful hillside was covered with new red poppies. The greens were vibrant and fresh. In the distance a donkey started braying and here and there a dog was barking. The rooster started crowing and the land began to awaken. Nearby a flock of bleating, spring lambs could be heard. The ancient wall before us seemed to frame old Bethlehem. The date was April 6th, the true birthday of Jesus.Years later this would become the photograph of Bethlehem used in the Church's publication of the scriptures.
The golden-yellow leaves of the sugar maple begin their downward glide to the ground. Each tree forms a cover quilted by nature to capture the moisture of the oncoming winter. The constant chattering of the gray squirrels indicates the gathering—a time to prepare for the change of the seasons.In this obscure spot in Vermont, in 1805, came a similar change of seasons. Golden maple leaves, yes, but much more. The breezes were blowing in a new awakening. The earth itself and all her inhabitants were about to enter a new season. It was not marked on the calendar or announced in the newspaper, but after centuries of silence from the heavens, when humanity claimed that the Lord had grown quiet, something was about to happen.Thirty-year old Lucy Mack Smith was nearing her delivery of a baby boy just a few hundred yards from this line of sugar maples here on Dairy Hill. That baby was Joseph Smith, Jr. and he would be born the day after the longest night of darkness, the day when the light begins to return to the earth.This photograph is available as a horizontal landscape (as shown) or as a vertical.
Agricultural methods in many areas of the Guatemalan highlands have not changed for hundreds of years. The indigenous tribes still hand-cut their wheat and tie and stack them in beautiful shocks.Grain is mentioned more than 20 times in the Book of Mormon. One sign of blessings from heaven was when it was raised in abundance. It was used in weights and measures and as a from of payment. It was shared freely when the people were righteous."And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need--an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain..."And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished...therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need."This beautiful shock of wheat is a reminder of the blessings of the Lord in your life.