December 13, 2011 Christmas Devotional by Diane Adair

Audio Christmas Devotional December 13, 2011

“The more we study, pray and ponder the awesome Atonement, the more we are willing to acknowledge that we are in His and the Father’s hands.  Let us ponder therefore, these final things.  When the unimaginable burden began to weigh upon Christ, it confirmed his long-held and intellectually clear understanding as to what he must now do.  His working through began, and Jesus declared, “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say?  Father save me from this hour”.  Then whether in spiritual soliloquy or by way of instruction to those about him, he observed, “But for this cause came I unto this hour”.

In Gethsemane with the suffering, Jesus began to be “sore amazed”, or in the Greek “awestruck” and “astonished”.  Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds astonished.  Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially.  He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before.  Thus, when the agony came in its fullness, it was so much, much more worse than even He, with His unique intellect had ever imagined.  The cumulative weight of all mortal sins–past, present, and future–pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive soul!  All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement.  The anguished Jesus not only pled with the Father that the hour and cup might pass from him, but with this relevant citation, “He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me.”  His suffering as it were, enormity multiplied by infinity, evoked his later soul cry on the cross, and it was a cry of forsakenness.  Even so, Jesus maintained this sublime submissiveness as he had in Gethsemane.  “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”   While bearing our sins, our infirmities, our sicknesses, and bringing to pass the Atonement, Jesus became the perfect Shepherd, making these lines of Paul’s especially relevant and reassuring”  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or feminine or nakedness or peril or sword?”  Indeed, we are in His hands, and what hallowed hands! The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history.  It was the hinge on which all else that finally matters, turned.  But it turned upon Jesus’ spiritual submissiveness.  May we now, in our time and turn, be “willing to submit.”

Neal A. Maxwell

“As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice.

Of Him the Prophet Joseph also declared:  “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him:  That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father–

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God”

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth.

We testify that He will someday return to earth.  “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together”.  He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him.  Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles–that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God.  He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father.  He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world.  His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.  God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

The Living Christ:  The Testimony of the Apostles

Christmas Devotional – Diane Adair – December 13, 2011(Audio)

Dec 6 2011 3 Nephi 20-22 by Nancy Baird

Quotes

“Sometimes I pray for compassion, but more often I pray for harmlessness, the great spiritual quality embodied in the Hippocratic oath…it is my hope I may be used to serve a holy purpose without ever knowing.  So sometimes, before I see a patient I offer up a little wordless prayer:  Understanding the suffering is beyond me.  Understanding the healing is, too.  But in this moment, I am here.  Use me.”
  Rachel Naomi Remen M.D., Kitchen Table Wisdom, 272.

“Do we really comprehend, do we understand the …significance of… what we have?…we…are the end harvest of all that has gone before.”
Gorden B. Hinckley, Conference Report, Apr. 2004.

“In the Book of Mormon, there is another version of the Exodus story.  In it, the Jaredites, forced from their homes by conditions that stifle their freedom, set out across great uncharted waters to reach the land of promise in boats sealed up tightly against the sea.  Jared speaks to God about the difficulty in steering these boats in total darkness.  He is told that if he brings stones with him, God will touch them and they will shine forth light.

The voyage is long and difficult in the extreme; there are mighty storms, and the boats are plunged deep beneath the water over and over again.  But their seal holds, and the stones, touched by God, continue to shine.  According to Jung, the stone is one of the two archetypal symbols for the soul.  This image of a people sailing through heavy seas in search of freedom, steering only by the light that the touch of God kindles in their souls, is a particularly beautiful one for me.

The journey to freedom and the promised land may take many forms.  Years ago, a friend in England sent me a card with a quote from King George V’s Christmas message to the British people.  Shortly before I received this card, my mother, old and very ill, had come from New York City to live the last years of her life with me.  She had loved this card and kept it in her purse.  Throughout her final illness it stood on her bedside table.  It was there on the day that she died.  I have framed it now and keep it in my kitchen.  It reads as follows:

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
Give me a light that I might go safely out into the darkness.
And he replied, Go out into the darkness and put your hand into
the hand of God.
That shall be more to you than a light and safer than a known
way.

In the course of any lifetime there are times when one has to sail into the unknown without map or compass. These can be times of despair and terror; they can also be times of discovery.  Having accompanied many people as they deal with the unknown, I find that the most moving part of the Mormon exodus story is a single line.  Despite the challenges and great difficulties of this sea journey, “the wind always blows in the direction of the promised land.”  I have seen many people spread their sails and catch this wind.

There is a grace in life that can be trusted.  In our struggle toward freedom we are neither abandoned nor alone.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings, 375-376.

“We have two great challenges, you and I, and they never end as long as breath lasts; to choose     God and to love each other.”
Marion D. Hanks

SCRIPTURES


Matthew 17:2
    “And [Jesus] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun,         and his raiment was white as the light.”

John 10:16
    “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall     hear my voice.”

Alma 34:27    “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer     unto him continually…”

2 Nephi 32:3, 5    “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…it [the Holy Ghost] will show unto you all things what ye should do.”

1 Corinthians 2:16
    “…But we have the mind of Christ.”

Alma 37:37    “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou     liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when     thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…”

Rev 10:9-10      “I took the little book…and ate it up.”

Jeremiah 15:16   “Thy words were found, and I did eat them…”

Ezekiel 3:1-3    “…Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll…then I did eat it; and it was in my      mouth as honey for sweetness.”

Luke 24:36-45    “…Then opened he their understanding.”

D&C 45:66,69
      “And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of     safety for the saints of the Most High God…and it shall be the only people that shall not be at     war one with another.”

Revelation 21:1-22
    (Stones in the New Jerusalem)

Exodus 28:17-20
    (12 stones on the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel)

D&C 130:10-11,  Revelation 2:17    (white stone with a new name written in it)

Exodus 24:10    “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of     a sapphire stone…”

Revelation 22:1-2    (River of the water of life)

Ezekiel 47:1-12        (Water from under the threshold of the house.)

1 Nephi 19:23
        “…liken all scriptures unto us…”

Matthew 25:31-46
    “unto one of the least of these…”

D&C 38:7    “But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you.  I am in your midst     and ye cannot see me.”

1 Peter 3:12      “…the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their     prayers…”

2 Sam 6:14-16
    “And David danced before the Lord with all his might…So David and all the house of     Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet…king     David leaping and dancing before the Lord.”

Moses 7:28-33
    (Why God weeps.)

Mark 12:30-31
  (Shema)    “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:  this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”