We are in the age of great knowledge. We can read stories all day long that stir the soul and awaken our minds. Right at our fingertips we have access to literature that moved groups of people to be brave, to love and to believe. We have access to history, to headlines, and weather from around the world. We can have access to read or watch whatever we want whenever we want it.
There is one story more important and rises above all the others. It has withstood the test of time. It never tires even though we recount it multiple times a year. Even with art depictions and insight it stands alone without the need for dramatizing it with grandiose details. This is the great but humble biblical account of the birth of the Redeemer of the world.
This glorious story is so simple and modest. From this, the lowliest of events, we have received the greatest gift ever given to mankind – and he was born in an animal stable. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger with hay. The Savior, the world’s most important gift, wasn’t wrapped in fancy wrapping or with bright glittery bows but came to us in the most humble of ways as a baby.
Every year the Christmas season comes in with a sudden rush. It’s hectic and exciting. I’m sure I am like most when I say that I struggle to find the time I would like to focus more on the Savior. From this week’s Come, Follow Me lesson the thought worth pondering for me was this quote:
“Christmas is not only a celebration of how Jesus came into the world but also of knowing who He is—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—and of why He came”
What do you know about why Jesus Christ came to earth?
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 4:16-21)
His divine mission was to preach to the poor and heal. Furthermore, we read:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
Through Christ we can be saved and have everlasting life. In the Book of Mormon, He teaches:
Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. (3 Nephi 27:13–16)
Christ taught that his mission was to do the will of the Father. He was sent here to be crucified for our sins. Christ made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and return again to live with our Father in Heaven.
In what ways does understanding Christ’s mission affect or change the way we live? What does Christ’s birth mean to you? How will your reflection this season about the birth of The Savior of the world mean a little bit more this year?
I love the story of the Grinch and a little hint of the meaning of Christmas:
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!
“That’s a noise, “grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply MUST hear!”So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow …
But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”
(Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, New York: Random House, 1957.)
“But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby—that’s how Christmas began.”—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Maybe Christmas Doesn’t Come From a Store“
Let’s all take as much time as needed to reflect personally on the great importance of the birth of Jesus. May we all slow the hustle and bustle of the season and grow closer to our Savior as we ponder the divine mission of his birth, life and his triumph over death.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
- Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019, December 16-22.
- “The Fulness of the Story of Christmas” -Elder Craig C. Christensen, First Presidency Christmas Devotional, Dec. 4, 2016
- “Jesus Christ: Our Savior and Redeemer” -President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1983.
- “The Atonement of Jesus Christ” -Elder Tad R. Callister, April 2019.
You can follow Larin on Twitter @larknap.