Friday, December 25, 2015

#ASaviorisBorn - December 25

Merry Christmas! Thanks for sticking with these posts for this whole week! I really am glad.

My posts all week have had something to do with Christmas, namely the religious aspect of it (which in my mind is the only aspect of Christmas we should have). Today, on Christmas Day, I've decided to tie it all together. I already told the story of Christ's birth yesterday, but that's not the most important thing Christ did.

Sure, being born is totally necessary to do anything, but I want to talk about the thing that set Christ apart for all other mortal men. The life he lived.

The whole idea of Christmas is to celebrate to birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The incredible gift that was given to us two thousand years ago, was from Heavenly Father to all of us.

As Jesus grew up, he was very aware of his mission on earth. When he was twelve years old, he was in the temple, teaching and talking with very intelligent men. When Mary and Joseph found him, he said to them, "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49).

We know that Christ lived a life perfectly. He was completely without sin, and was therefore able to perform his Atonement for all of us. The sacrifice that allowed all of us to repent of our sins and overcome death. The only means by which we would be able to return to our Father in Heaven.

Had he not been born, he would not have lived that sinless life. Had he not been born, he would not have suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. Had he not been born, he would not have risen again on the third day, and we would all be trapped in our sins.

As this Christmas day closes, consider for a moment the Atonement. Read about it, ponder it, use it. Look to the Light of the world, and remember what he did.

I know that Christ suffered for our sins. Such a gift could never be matched by anyone. He lives today, and he will come again to reign.

Thanks for listening to my thoughts.


#ASaviorisBorn - December 23

I love Christmas music. It has a powerful effect on people, and puts us at peace. I come from a very musical family. Myself, I can play three instruments, the piano, the ukulele, and the saxophone. Much of my family also plays the piano, guitar, or ukulele. Many of my siblings enjoy singing.

We get this love for musical from our parents. Both my parents grew up around music. While my dad just loved singing, my mom learned plenty of instruments. She can play the piano, violin, and she sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a time.

I also grew up hearing and learning music, and I especially loved around Christmas. I loved the hymns sang at church. The music on the radio. The Christmas songs my mom would turn on in the living room.

In the trenches of World War One in 1914, fighting between British and German troops continued into the winter. In the darkness of that Christmas morning, a song was being sang. The Germans were singing Stille Nacht. Soon, the British joined the singing with Silent Night, the English translation of the carol. They continued to exchange Christmas carols in their own language.

The soldiers exited the trenches, and greeted each other, wishing a Merry Christmas to one another. A truce was made for that single day. Fighting stopped for Christmas, while the young men enjoyed each other's company, and played soccer.

It seemed that day that the angels who appeared to the shepherd really did bring "peace, and good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).

Music has the power to end a war. Even just for a day, the fighting stopped, and a bunch of homesick young boys celebrated the birth of our Savior.

The angels who heralded the birth of Christ were the first to sing praises to God on Christmas. I can imagine those shepherds with their flocks. Seeing a multitude of heavenly host, and hearing them sing and praise God. Did they join in the songs?

"As the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger" (Luke 2:15-16).

I realized that words are not enough to capture the power of music. I picked a few of my favorite covers of Christmas songs by some LDS artists. After you listen to them, I urge you to go with haste to see the baby Jesus. Or in this case, think of Him. Think of how he came to earth to save us from our sins. Think of how much he has done for you.

The Piano Guys-
Carol of the Bells
We Three Kings
Angels We Have Heard On High

Lexi Walker-
The First Noel

Lindsey Sterling-
Silent Night
What Child is This?

Merry Christmas.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

#ASaviorisBorn - December 24

It's Christmas Eve. The night when children (and I) refuse to sleep. The night when Santa comes and delivers presents to every child. When the whole world is just at rest. It's as if the earth itself knows that Christmas will come tomorrow.

Every year, either with my family or on my own, I read the story of Christ birth this night. I've decided to allow you all to hear the story of the birth of Christ, as I tell you for day five of my #ASaviorisBorn posts.

"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

"He shall be great, and shall be call the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God...For with God nothing shall be impossible.

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

"Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed...And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem:...To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

"When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

"And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet...

"And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

"When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the stay, which they saw in the easy, 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 worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."

I'll be having my last Christmas thought tomorrow. Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#ASaviorisBorn - December 22

My favorite part of Christmas decorating is hanging lights. I can look past the awful knots in the box, and how 90% of the bulbs are out, and see the beauty of the lights. I love driving around my town and seeing the lights other people have set up. Last year I came across a house that has synced their lights to the radio.

However my favorite display of lights would be those at temple square.

The thousands of little lights are just so beautiful and with the temple there as well, it makes you feel at peace. Even though it's difficult for me to go there for a date because of Christmas plans, I still love going and seeing the lights.

As I've said, lights are my favorite part of Christmas decorations, and just make you feel like its really Christmastime.

The first light of Christmas was the new star in the sky when Christ was born. The light was so brilliant, that it was as if there was no night at all. This star is how the wise men found the baby Jesus. But this star played a bigger part in the believers of Christ among the Nephites. It saved them from the wicked men who wanted to kill them. But more about that story on a later day.

The idea of Light is well associated with Jesus Christ, as well as all throughout the scriptures. The very first thing that was created is light (Gen 1:3). Joseph Smith's account of his First Vision tells how he "saw a pillar of light exactly over [his] head, above the brightness of the sun" (JSH 1:16). The Light of Christ resides in all things, and knowledge and light is typically used synonymously within the scriptures.

Jesus calls himself the Light. "I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end" (3 Nephi 9:18).

A friend of mine once used an analogy of a lamp being turned on in an empty dark room. When the lamp was off, nothing could be seen. No light entered into the room. However, when the lamp is turned on, suddenly the entire room become visible. You see everything that's in the room.

As it is with Christ. Without Christ, we don't see anything. We can't see what we need to see. However, if we invite Christ into our lives (turn on the Light) we can see all.

But perhaps the most interesting, is the same title Christ uses for himself, he uses for us. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

Christ uses his faithful servants to shine His light unto the world. Not only is He the light, but we are the light. We need to shine the light to all the world.

Who else just burst into song?
I hope we can look to the Christmas lights and think of Him. Whether they be the thousands of lights at the temple, or if they just be the one string hanging humbly on your Christmas tree, look at them, and remember Christ. Remember that He is the Light. As are you.

Wait up for my next thought tomorrow!


If you missed the first two days of my #ASaviorisBorn posts check them out! Here's the links!

Monday, December 21, 2015

#ASaviorisBorn - December 21

It was no mystery that Christ would be born. His coming had been prophesied since to beginning to the world. In the time of Adam and Eve, Adam was commanded to offer a sacrifice to God. After many days of this, and angel appeared to Adam. He asked him "Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This think is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth" (Moses 5:6-7).

Another prophet who prophesied of Christ was Nephi. "And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

"And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?

"And I said unto him: A virgin. most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.

"...And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh" (1 Nephi 11: 13-15, 18). Nephi also had revelation of when Christ would come. "And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years for the time my father left Jerusalem" (1 Nephi 19:8). King Benjamin later receives revelation concerning the mother of Christ. "And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary" (Mosiah 3:8).

The most prominent prophey of Christ's birth in the Book of Mormon is that of Samuel the Lamanite. A prophetic MC Hammer.

Can't touch this.
Samuel stood on the wall, and told the wicked Nephites about Jesus. "And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

"And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

"Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.

"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" (Helaman 14:2-5).

The most well-known prophesy of Christ is by the prophet Isaiah.

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa 7:14). "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (9:6).

These prophesies were fulfilled. Christ was born to Mary in Bethlehem. He was celebrated with angelic choirs, and a bright new star appeared, leading all those to him, who knew the words of the prophets.

Christ was given to us to give us everlasting life. He is Wonderful. A Counsellor. The Prince of Peace. He gave his life out of pure love for all of us.

May our thoughts be always on Him.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

#ASaviorisBorn - December 20

When you see this man's face, you just think, Christmas. You've known who it is since you were a little child. Since your first Christmas on this earth, you've known about Santa Claus. The great man who delivers gifts to every child on Christmas is a legend. His red coat, his team of reindeer, and his home in the North Pole are known by nearly every child who celebrates Christmas.

But Santa Claus has many similarities to our Savior. Whether intentional or not, Santa is a symbol of Christ. First, there's his looks.

Red Coat and White Beard

When Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the newly dedicated Kirtland Temple, they recorded the experience in D&C 110. "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters" (D&C 110:3).

Joseph Smith also received revelation concerning the Second coming of Christ. "And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat" (D&C 133:48).

Coming in the Night

Christ used many parables to help his disciples watch for his coming. Of these is the parable of the ten virgins. Ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom to come, but he was taking longer than they'd expected. "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him" (Matthew 25:6).  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thes 5:2).

While Santa is not quite a thief (just the opposite actually), he will come in the night, when we don't expect him. And many of us will be asleep when he comes.

Naughty or Nice

Somehow, Santa knows how each person has been behaving the whole year.

And because he makes a list, and checks it twice, he can tell who is naughty and deserves coal or who is nice and deserves a puppy.

When we are judged for our sins, Christ will be our judge. "His lord said unto his, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:21).

It's also worth mentioning the the naughty get coal, and hell is portrayed with fire and brimstone. When I have kids, I will personally see to it that they understand the connection.

Comes with Gifts

When Christ was born, the wise men brought him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This is the reason we give gifts on Christmas. However, we were also given a gift from Him. Last year, the LDS church put out this video.

When God sent his only Begotten Son to us, to save us from our sins, and our pains, and our sadness, he gave us the greatest gift we could ever ask for.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in his should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Christ atoning sacrifice for us was a gift given to us 2,000 years ago. When we see that jolly big man, and his bowl full of jelly, we should be reminded of Christ. How we celebrate his birth. How he came into the world, and how he lived and died for us.

Watch tomorrow for my next thought.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

#ASaviorisBorn - December 19

Can I just say, I love Christmas? It's the best time of year. Putting up the tree, singing Christmas carols, seeing the beautiful lights. But it's easy to get caught up in the fun and commotion of this Christmas season, and forget the first part of the word. Christ.

Needless to say, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Our Savior. Everything about the season points to him, and shows us the way to return to our Father in Heaven. The LDS Church has put out this amazing video called A Savior Is Born, and it is just beautifully.

Through these last few days before Christmas, I plan to post daily. Each day I'll be writing about a different aspect of the Christmas season, and providing my insight in how it relates to Christmas. I'll be using the cool little hashtag the church has been using, #ASaviorisBorn. So here's the church's video to hold you up until tomorrow. I hope you consider my thoughts a little bit.

- Nathaniel