Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 12- Jesus

When you look at the Nativity and see how Christ came into the world, you can see how He, even from the beginning, had to descend below all things. He wasn’t born in a clean room with warm water. We wasn’t born with a physician standing by ready to help Mary and Joseph. He was born in the most humble of circumstances, in a stable surrounded by filthy animals and unclean straw. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated, “He would do so to help those who also felt they had been born without advantage.” Being born in such a manner is truly a gift to us, as was His life and death here on earth.
In Moroni 7:48 it says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.” President Henry B. Eyring said of this scripture, “That ought to help you understand why any believing Latter-day Saint is an optimist about what lies ahead for him or her, however difficult the present may be. We believe that through living the gospel of Jesus Christ we can become like the Savior, who is perfect. Considering the attributes of Jesus Christ should quash the pride of the self-satisfied person who thinks he or she has no need to improve. And even the most humble person can take hope in the invitation to become like the Savior.”
Because Christ was born, lived, and died for us we do have hope. Like what President Eyring said no matter how difficult life may seem right now, you have someone you can turn to. You have someone who lived His life so you could live forever and be happy. Know that Jesus loves you. His birth and life is evidence of that. So as you celebrate His birth tonight and tomorrow remember what He has done for you. And as you begin this next year, ask yourself this question, “What think ye of Christ?” (Matt 22:42).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 11- Mary

Sometimes I think Mary is over looked. There isn’t a lot about her in the scriptures, but what is written we can see how wonderful she was. After the angel told her that she was chosen of the Lord to be Jesus’ mother and how it would happen she simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Mary was humble and obedient. She endured many trials. Being pregnant she had to ride on a donkey some 90 miles to Bethlehem. She gave birth in a stable with dirty animals. At one point she couldn’t find Jesus for 3 days. As a mother I’m sure she was very worried about him. When she did find him he was teaching in the temple (Luke 2). The last few years of Jesus’ life he spent away from her doing his Father’s will teaching, healing, and showing us how to live. My children are still young and are still living at home. I don’t know how hard it was for her to let him go. And the final thing we know Mary suffered was to see her son killed on the cross for all mankind. I’ve never have lost a child, but some of my close friends have. It must have been hard for her. Mary was a very strong woman and someone I have grown to look up to.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 10- The Angel

Have you ever noticed that there is always an angel present on the most important events in Church history? An angel came to Mary to tell her she was going to be the mother of Jesus. Angels sang when he was born. An angel came to the shepherds telling them of Christ’s birth. An angel was there to open the tomb for Jesus’ resurrection. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. And an angel met with Joseph each year before he could take the plates and translate them into the Book of Mormon.
We still have angels today. We each can be an angel to someone else. We can answer their prayers. We can be their shoulder to cry on. President Kimball said it best when he said, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually though another person that he meets our needs” (Small acts of service, Ensign 1974). How can you be an angel to someone this Christmas season?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 9- Joseph

When I think of Joseph I think of courage, faith, and devotion. He could have left Mary, who he was espoused to. But he didn’t. I don’t know what it was like in those days. I don’t know if people gossiped like they do now. But I think it took a lot of courage to stand by Mary’s side. I love what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said about Joseph, “As a father, I have thought often of Joseph—that strong, silent, almost unknown man who must have been more worthy than any other mortal man to be the guiding foster father of the living Son of God. It was Joseph selected from among all men who would teach Jesus to work. It was Joseph who taught him the books of the Law. It was Joseph who, in the seclusion of the shop, helped him begin to understand who he was and ultimately what he was to become.”
As parents do we take the sacred responsibility of raising our children to be the adults that Heavenly Father would want them to become?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 8- Wise men #3

The third thing I want to tell you about what I have learned from the wise men comes from what they did after they met Jesus and gave him their gifts. In Matthew 2:12 is reads, “And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”
The wise men listen to the promptings of the Lord and they went a different way home. Sometimes in our lives the Lord tries to tell us, or warn us, of things pointing us to go in a different direction. It’s not always easy to follow what the Lord tells us to do, but it is always for our good and/or for the good of others around us. Next time you feel a prompting from the Lord, even if it is pointing you in a direction you hadn’t planned on, follow the Lord and all will be well in the end.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 7-Wise men #2

The wise men that came to see Jesus brought him gifts, “they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11) In December 2009 Wendy Kenney said, “Most scholars agree that the gifts were symbolic. The gold symbolized Jesus’s kingship, frankincense His divinity, and myrrh His suffering and death, since myrrh was a substance used to perfume dead bodies before burial.”
For the past 4 years my husband and I have used the symbolic names of these gifts to give to our children for their Christmas presents. We give them a Frankincense gift, the gift of “meaning”. This gift is usually a homemade gift or scriptures, things that mean something. The gift of Myrrh is the gift of “usefulness”. This gift, like the name, is something useful. I’ve made blankets, given clothes, school supplies, things of that nature. The gift of Gold is usually a toy and to help “Santa” become more part of our ‘Christ celebration’ Santa brings the gift of Gold.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 6- Wise men #1

In the scriptures it doesn’t say how many wise men followed the star to find Jesus. There are many songs that speak of the Three Kings, and most Nativities have three wise men in them. So for the next three days I will share with you what I have learned from the story of the wise men.
In Matthew 2:9-11 it says, “…and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
In this scripture it doesn’t say that Jesus was a baby. It says that he was a young child. Not only did the wise men see the new star, a sign that they had been watching for, but they diligently followed it until they found Jesus. Their travel must have taken a long time. Are we that diligent in staying close to the Lord and following the signs He gives to us through His prophets?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 5- The Shepherds

I love the story of the Shepherds. Being a mother I see what a wonderful gift they were to Mary. When we have babies today we have family and friends who come and share in our joy. Mary and Joseph were alone. I imagine when they showed up to worship the baby and share in their joy of His birth how wonderful that feeling must have been for Mary. She wasn’t alone and the Lord literally showed her that.
Another lesson that I love about the Shepherds is that “they came with haste” as it says in Luke 2:16. They didn’t question what the Angel had told them. They left their flock and ran to see the baby Jesus. Are we that quick to obey when we are told we need to do something, or change, when the Prophets speak? The Shepherds are great examples of obedience.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 4- The Donkey

When I think of the Donkey that carried Mary that long way, I can’t help by think of service and love. Mary, in her weakened condition, could not have made the journey walking. She needed help. I’m sure it wasn’t easy carrying the pregnant woman but the donkey did it. It might seem like a small act to some, but for Her I’m sure it was immeasurable. It is the little acts of service and love that matter the most. I hope during this wonderful time of year you can reach out to someone, to serve and to love them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 3- The Star

When the star of Bethlehem is mentioned during the Christmas season it is usually referred to by the prophesy spoken in Helaman 14:5, “And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.” The sign spoken in this scripture is the sign that Christ was born. It also mentions in the scriptures that wise men followed the star. Tonight I would like to talk a little bit about what the star means to me.

When I was a Young Woman I remember a lesson we had about how important we were to our Heavenly Father on an individual level. During the lesson we talked about the stars and how many there were. President Uchtdorf in the 2011 October General Conference said, “Astronomers have attempted to count the number of stars in the universe. One group of scientists estimates that the number of stars within range of our telescopes is 10 times greater than all the grains of sand on the world’s beaches and deserts.” That is a lot of stars, and that can be intimidating to think of all that God has created. I love what President Uchtdorf continues with, “while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind. In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.” In Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 it reads, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” No matter how many stars are out there God knows each star just as God knows you. He cares for you individually and knows what you are going through. At the end of the Young Women’s lesson we were each given a single ‘glow in the dark’ star. When I got home that day I placed that star on the ceiling right above my head so that each night I would look up at that one star and remember that I matter. That star is still in my old bedroom at my parent’s house. I hope as you look at the Christmas star this year you will see how important you are to our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 2- The Evergreen Tree

The evergreen tree, to me this represent a few things about the Savior. First, it is always green no matter what time of year. When you see an evergreen tree you know what to expect. The Savior is constant and never failing. He is always there for us no matter the season. Second the needles of the tree point upward reminding us to look to Heaven for guidance. Third its’ roots are deep and can withstand heavy storms in the mountains. We, like the evergreen tree, need to have deep roots with our testimony of the Gospel to withstand the temptations that come at us every day. We bring these trees into our home at Christmas time. We decorate them with lights, with precious ornaments, and we place gifts under it. May we always remember that Christ is the “light of the world” (John 8:12) and has given us the most precious gift of all, the gift of eternal life (D&C 14:7).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 1- Manger

For the 12 Days of Christmas this year I want to talk about what each piece of the Nativity can represent. I hope this will bring Christ more into your Holiday season.

Elder Neil L. Anderson in the April 2010 General Conference said, “[Do you] visualize the premortal council, where Jesus – the greatest of all – declared, “Here am I, send me”? Do [you] see [in yourself] a willingness to serve [by] following His example? Do [you] think about His humble birth, the Savior of the world laying in a manger? Do His circumstances help [you] better understand the proper place of material possessions?"

In this time of year where material things are put front and center, take a moment and see where Christ is in your Christmas Celebrations. After all He IS the reason for the Season.