I rummaged through the old, dusty bin, angel in hand. I’d crocheted the angel’s head and body, but I needed yellow yarn to complete the halo and wings, and I wasn’t sure if I had any.
I’d learned to crochet when I was 11, but then I went about a decade without picking up a hook. It was only during the pandemic that crocheting had become a hobby again, and I’d gotten ambitious; I was trying to complete a full set of Nativity figures before Christmas.
Just as I was about to give up, I caught sight of a yellow swath of fabric. I tugged at the material, unearthing a large, uneven blanket. It had giant, gaudy stripes of clashing colors: orange, pink, navy blue, and yellow all crocheted together in a nauseatingly bright pattern.
The stripes were all different sizes. The stitches were loose and inconsistent. But the blanket still made me smile as I recognized it from my early years of crocheting. My focus and motivation had given out long before the project was complete, and it had been sitting in this pile of unfinished projects for years, unused and unseen.
I picked up the loose, untied end of the blanket and pulled. The blanket had never been fastened off, so I could undo several stitches at a time just with a quick tug.
I hesitated before unraveling it more. The blanket was outdated and overly bright, but it made me a little bit sad to think that I was undoing everything my young fingers had worked so hard to create. But, I realized, crocheting this blanket all those years ago had kept the material right where I needed it, now available and ready to be used for this better purpose.
So, I unraveled. I pulled and pulled until the yarn piled in a tangled heap on my lap, and then I began to crochet. My far-more-skilled hands turned the clumsy, childlike stitches of my blanket into intricately patterned angel’s wings.
As I worked, an odd thought entered my mind:
My testimony is like this little angel.
Reconstructing My Faith
While the thought made me smile at first, the longer I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. My testimony, like my little blanket, had at first been a simple, childlike construction. Then came the unraveling, as certain things tested my faith. The loose, clumsy stitches that had formed the basis of my testimony felt like they were being pulled apart.
And finally, there was reconstruction. When I’d stopped holding so tightly to what I’d had before, started trusting the Savior, and allowed my testimony to grow and change, it had formed into something far more beautiful, something more profound and significant than what I’d been able to create as a child.
Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Bruce C. Hafen explained this concept when he described what he called the “simplicity beyond complexity”1—essentially the idea that if we work through the difficult questions in our lives, we will receive a new, stronger kind of simplicity. He explained that “our tunnels of ambiguity are there to teach us, not to torment us. … It is by faith that we consciously choose to grow through the complexity that lets us see with our eyes and our hearts wide open.”2
The longer I thought about it, the more I realized that not only my testimony, but my life had followed this pattern. It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly, gradually, I had transformed. Through Christ, I had changed. Through Christ, I had weathered adversity and become something new.
Knowing Christ as Our Redeemer
This crocheting project started out as just a quarantine hobby but ended up being the perfect reminder of the influence of Christ and the celebration of new life. Because that is what Christ offers us: a chance to be made into something entirely new. We celebrate the baby in Bethlehem because we know that that baby grew up to be someone who could offer us the opportunity to grow and change and be made whole.
As President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018) said: “As you and I walk the pathway Jesus walked, we will discover He is more than the babe in Bethlehem, more than the carpenter’s son, more than the greatest teacher ever to live. We will come to know Him as the Son of God, our Savior and our Redeemer.”3
While Christ’s birth was a miraculous and wondrous event, my Christmas celebration is deepened and enriched by remembering exactly why the angel’s tidings brought such “great joy” (Luke 2:10). As the angel also prophesied, “[Mary] shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we can also remember the hope for new life and second chances that He brings to us. Christmas is a wonderful time of traditions and giving, and it can also be a time for strengthening, or even rebuilding, our testimonies. We can allow the Lord, with His skill and wisdom, to make us into something better than we could have imagined.
1. Bruce C. Hafen, “Faith Is Not Blind” (Brigham Young University-Hawaii devotional, Jan. 24, 2017), speeches.byuh.edu.
2. Bruce C. Hafen, “Faith Is Not Blind” (Brigham Young University-Hawaii devotional, Jan. 24, 2017), speeches.byuh.edu.
3. Thomas S. Monson, “Willing and Worthy to Serve,” Liahona, May 2012, 69.