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Audio December 10, 2013 Christmas Devotional
WORDS TAKEN FROM JEFFREY R. HOLLAND…NEAL A. MAXWELL…THE LIVING CHRIST!
The hours that lay immediately ahead would change the meaning of all human history. It would be the crowning moment of eternity, the most miraculous of all the miracles. It would be the supreme contribution to a plan designed from before the foundation of the world for the happiness of every man, woman, and child who would ever live in it. The hour of atoning sacrifice had come. God’s own Son, His Only Begotten Son in the flesh, was about to become the Savior of the world.
I testify that He is utterly incomparable in what He is, what He knows, what He has accomplished, and what He has experienced. Yet movingly, He calls us His friends. We can trust, worship, and even adore Him without any reservation as the only perfect person to sojourn on this planet. There is none like Him…He who sets us free from our last enemies…sin and death… Indeed, we cannot teach Him anything, but we can listen to Him. We can love Him. We can honor Him. We can worship Him. We can keep His commandments. We can feast upon His scriptures. Yes, we who are so forgetful…are never forgotten by Him. We are His work and His glory…and He is never distracted… As one of His special witnesses in the fullness of times, I witness of the fullness of His ministry. He lives today…soon all flesh shall see Him together. All knees shall bow in His presence and all tongues confess His name… All will then acknowledge the completeness of His justice and mercy.
So this Christmas, where may the thoughts and intents of our hearts be focused…
We could remember the simple grandeur of His mortal birth to just a young woman…who spoke for every faithful woman in every dispensation of time when she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” We could remember Christ’s miracles and His teachings, His healing and His help. We could remember that He gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and motion to the lame and the maimed and the withered. Then, on those days when we feel our progress has halted or our joys and views have grown dim, we can press forward steadfastly in Christ, with unshaken faith in Him and a perfect brightness of hope.
We could remember that Christ called His disciples friends, and that friends are those who stand by us in times of loneliness or potential despair. We could remember a friend we need to contact, or better yet a friend we need to make. In doing so we could remember that God often provides His blessings through the compassionate and timely response of another. For someone nearby, we may be the means of heaven’s answer to a very urgent prayer.
We should remember the wonderful things that have come to us in our lives and that all things which are good cometh of Christ. Those of us who are so blessed could remember the courage of those around us who face more difficulty than we, but who remain cheerful, who do the best they can, and trust that the Bright Morning Star will rise again for them—as surely He will do. On some days, we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment He received, the rejection He experienced, and the injustice—oh, the injustice—He endured. When we, too, then face some of that in life, we can remember that Christ was also troubled on every side, but not distressed, perplexed but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed. When those difficult times come to us, we can remember that Jesus had to descend below all things before He could ascend above them, and that
He suffered pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that He might be filled with mercy and know how to succor His people in their infirmities. To those who stagger or stumble, He is there to strengthen us. In the end, He is there to save us, and for all this He gave His life. However dim our days may seem, they have been darker for the Savior of the world.
In a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, our Lord of this sacrament table has chosen to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and His side…signs if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn’t love you. It is the WOUNDED CHRIST THAT IS THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR SOUL. It is He who yet bears the scars of sacrifice, the lesions of love and humility and forgiveness. These wounds are what He invites young and old, then and now, to step forward and see and feel. Then we remember with Isaiah that it was for each of us that our Master was despised and rejected…a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
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. We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the first born of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world. Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph declared, “And now after the many testimonies that 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. 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 the earth. 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… 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.
GOD BE THANKED FOR THE MATCHLESS GIFT OF HIS DIVINE SON. I LOVE YOU! YOU MAKE MY HEART SING!!!
Sincere Thanks to Cathy, Nancy, Diane, Shawna for the treats and to Michael Ethington for sharing his music, Sacred Birth.