Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Thoughts

I love Christmas music. I love the sounds, the words, the emotions that Christmas music brings. My favorite, though, is Handel’s Messiah.
I used to take some of my children to a singalong of the Messiah when they were young. Even though I have no musical talent, I do enjoy listening to music, and it was fun introducing them to the music as well as the whole experience of going to a concert. The text and the music of the Messiah remind me of Him whom we worship.
When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was a warm, loving experience. We sat around the tree and enjoyed each other’s company over hot chocolate and other assorted goodies. The evenings were simple and always ended up with my dad reading the Christmas story in Luke 2.
Since then I have found many other scriptures that enhance my understanding of the Savior and that have given me comfort through trials. I especially like Isaiah 53. Verse 5 says: “But he was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” I am grateful for His willingness to take upon Himself my transgressions and  iniquities, and I know that by His stripes I am healed.
When I struggle with discouragement and worries I often turn to the scriptures for comfort and perspective and come away from them feeling renewed. There is no question in my mind that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Redeemer and that He knows and loves each of us.
I like what President Thomas S. Monson once said wrote:
“Down through the generations of time, the message from Jesus has been the same. To Peter by the shores of beautiful Galilee, He said, “Follow me.” To Philip of old came the call, “Follow me.” To the Levite who sat at receipt of customs came the instruction, “Follow me.” And to you and to me, if we but listen, shall come that same beckoning invitation, “Follow me.”
      “As we follow in His steps today, we too will have an opportunity to bless the lives of others. Jesus invites us to give of ourselves. “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” The same thought is captured beautifully in this poem by Christina Rossetti:
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.
“Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.
“There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord our God with all our heart and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much, he who gives time gives more, but he who gives of himself gives all.
“Someone has appropriately said, “We make a living by what we get, but we build a life by what we give.” It is through giving, rather than getting, that the Spirit of Christ enters our lives.
“Let us listen for the sound of His sandaled feet. Let us reach out for the Carpenter’s hand.”

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