Have I done any good in the world today? If not, I have failed indeed! Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Good Tidings Of Great Joy

There are many stories told at Christmastime. The one about that little mouse running around when everyone else was asleep. There's the Nutcracker and the book about the green goblin who stole Christmas.

There are TV shows and movies about Christmas: You have Charlie Brown and his pitiful Christmas tree. You have my family's favorite Christmas movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." There's the movie "The Santa Clause" with Tim Allen. There's even the classic "A Christmas Story." And my personal favorite: "Mr. Krueger's Christmas."

The journey to Bethlehem wasn't
exactly enjoyable for Mary.
Most Christians are familiar with the story of Christ's birth in Luke 2. It was time for everyone in the land to pay taxes. Mary and Joseph traveled some 60 miles or so from Nazareth to Bethlehem to pay them, however the journey was going to be rough for Mary because she was nine months pregnant. When Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem they looked for a place to stay the night, but there wasn't a single room available except for a stable where the animals stayed. Mary had her baby, and His name was Jesus Christ.

On the night Christ was born, a few shepherds were tending their flocks. Suddenly, an messenger angel from heaven appeared and scared the living day-lights out of them. The angel knew he had scared them because he had to comfort them and told them not to be afraid because he had great news. He said Christ was born that night and told them where to find Him.

It then tells the story of how the wise men (who were different from the shepherds the angel appeared to) went to see Jesus Christ and gave Him gifts. And that's why we celebrate Christmas by giving presents to people we love. Great, isn't it?

But often times, I think we overlook the message the angel gave to the shepherds. In Luke 2:10-11 it reads:

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Fear not. Christ is born!
Or in other words: "Hey guys! Jesus Christ was born today! You know, the Messiah? The Savior? The Redeemer of the world who has been prophesied would come to save man from their from their sins almost since the beginning of the world on both sides of the globe? He is going to bring many billions of people peace and happiness! Isn't that great?"

What better message is there out there than that? There is a Savior who was born, what more important thing could the angel Gabriel have told them?

"Jesus Christ will heal people!" or "Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of Moses!" or "Jesus Christ will raise the dead!"

All of that stuff is cool and great and all, but the most important message we were supposed to get out of the Christmas story isn't the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that were brought to Jesus by the wise men. It wasn't the new star appearing in the sky or that Mary and Joseph paid taxes. It was that Jesus Christ was born.

Jesus Christ didn't only die for us, but He was also born for us. We can more easily pass through life's sorrows. He was born to free us from our sins. We can perform and take part in ordinances essential to our eternal salvation. We can have guidance and direction in our lives. We have the opportunity to enter the kingdom of God. (Just a little hint: follow the links in this paragraph to see the message.)

So during this Christmas season, take a little more time to reflect on the "good tidings of great joy" brought to the shepherds by Gabriel. Think about why Christ came into the world. Think of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Think of the real reason for Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. Ah elder hill, once again you touch the heart strings. you know, today, I had a thought in my scriptures that was from Pres. Benson, about how " we choose to be humble or he will compel us to be humble" or something along those lines. So dear one, is this not the supreme humble being, Christ our Redeemer, who had no need to be compelled but was willing, let me say this again, willing at all times to be there for us, teach us, sooth us, and at the end, atone for us. Could there be no greater gift? How do we ever repay this? By being as the people of Limhi, who "humbled themselves, even in the depths of humility"... we can begin to understand that it is by faith we walk, faith we live. But without the guidance the Lord provides, the safety net (atonement) we will continue to struggle till we get it.
    love you elder hill. keep it real as always. sistamamaruth