Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
— 3 Nephi 1:13
It was the winter of 1945. I was a young U.S. Army soldier on a troop ship in heavy seas of the North Atlantic. We were bound for the war zone in Europe.
"Freedom. What is it really, and why must I leave my home and my family to do this?" I wondered. I was only 18 and there would be eight days at sea for me to think about it. I thought very seriously and I have never forgotten my feelings of fear and despair as I prayed for divine guidance and comfort.
When I read in my little book of scripture, I learned that my homeland was a precious land, choice above all others. Then I read this beautiful passage, and I knew that Nephi was describing the first Christmas Eve in the Americas, my homeland.
On the windy, cold, and wet deck of that troop ship, away from the crowds of men below, I was filled with the spiritual warmth and the tender sweet comfort of the Holy Spirit. I was blessed with a testimony and a greater knowledge of the mission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who came into the world on that night so long ago.
I knew then that freedom is always worth the price. In a letter from the troop ship to my mother, I wrote these words: "My thoughts and prayers are with you always, for nowhere but in the service of his country, does a man realize more, what his home and family and friends mean to him. These are truly worth fighting for."
— Leo D. Hymas, Langley, Wash.
"Living by the Scriptures" is another in a series of Church News reader response articles. Was there a time when a particular scripture touched you, when it offered comfort, guidance and much-needed support? If so, please describe your experience in 250-300 words, giving the scripture reference and telling how it affected you. Send your submission to Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Fax No. (801) 237-2524. Internet E-mail: [email protected]