Mom will be writing on here tomorrow and then it’s Christmas Eve and Christmas.
I’ve blogged on Christmas gifts, believing at Christmas time, Christmas songs, Christmas traditions, and so on. Now it’s time to talk about the most important part of Christmas, the birth and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
In the first singles ward (oh how I loved my singles ward) I was in, I had an amazing Stake President, President Belliston. He had such an amazing Spirit with him and he was an incredible leader. There are things he spoke about in Stake Conference that are written in my scriptures, but what’s more…I still hear him saying them in my mind to this day.
In my second singles ward, we had a Christmas party one time. They went all out for us. We had fancy tables. It was catered by Goodwood BBQ (yeah, singles wards rock I tell you). There was a harpist there. And we had a guest speaker. And it was President Belliston…only he wasn’t stake president anymore.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Honestly. I couldn’t wait.
And he spoke. And he recited a talk which he memorized.
And I tell you what, this man has a gift. Because once again, to this day, I can hear him giving this talk.
Here are some excerpts from that talk:
We celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ at this season of the year. How grateful we are that the baby Jesus was born. His birth and life and death were the greatest of all. He died a propitiation for our sins to open the way for our resurrection, to point the way to our perfection of life, to show the way to exaltation. He died purposefully, voluntarily. His birth was humble, his life was perfect, his example was compelling; his death opened doors, and man was offered every good gift and blessing.
For more than three decades he lived a life of hazard and jeopardy. From Herod’s horrible murder of Bethlehem’s infants to Pilate’s giving him to the bloodthirsty mob, Jesus was in constant danger. Perilously he lived with a price upon his head, the final price paid being thirty pieces of silver. It seemed that not only human enemies would snarl his life, but even his friends would desert him; and Satan and his cohorts would hound him ceaselessly. Yet, even after his early death, it seemed that he could not leave the earth until he had further trained his disciples. For forty days he remained to prepare the Apostles in leadership and the people in Sainthood.
As we look upon his life, we see prophetic patterns. As predicted, he was a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isa. 53:3.) How could he effectively lead his people—how could he show us the way to keep his commandments—unless he experienced sorrow as well as joy? How could it ever be known if individual perfection is possible, or how could one be persuaded to reach for it, if someone did not prove it could be done? So he lived through trials all his life.
His trials were continuous. Perhaps Lucifer had heard him say when he was still but a lad of twelve: “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49.) Then came the time when Satan sought to entrap him. Their encounter in the previous world had been on more equal terms, but now Jesus was young and Satan was experienced. By subtlety and challenges he thought to destroy the Savior. Jesus had spoken of his Father-Son relationship. Lucifer determined to test that. Hungry after a long fast, Jesus needed sustenance, and the cruel question came hurling at him: “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matt. 4:3.) Bread would have tasted so good at that moment.
His statements were challenged. He must defend the principles he taught. “Why don’t you fast?” “Why do your disciples eat with unwashed hands?” “Why do you break the Sabbath by healing on that day?” The leaders sought to kill him for healing on the Sabbath!
To whom could he go for sympathy? Was this the reason for his frequent climbing of the mountains for privacy and comfort from his Father? Lonely, alone, no one to truly confide in, no place to go. As he said: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:57.) So he climbs the hills, but is followed. He sails across the sea, and there is the multitude. He lies down to rest in the ship, and is rudely awakened with criticism: “Carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38.)
How difficult it must have been for him, who could wither a fig tree with a single command, to restrain himself from cursing his enemies. Rather, he prayed for them. To retaliate and fight back is human, but to accept indignities, as did the Lord, is divine. He permitted himself to be kissed by the known traitor, yet did not resist. And when he was captured, he did not permit his loyal Apostle Peter to defend him, though that worthy man was willing to die fighting for him.
It is well that at this time of the year we pour out our hearts in prayers of love and thanksgiving to our Father in Heaven: We are grateful, Father, that we know so positively that thou dost live; that we know the babe born in Bethlehem was in reality thy Son; grateful that thy plan of salvation is real, workable, and exalting. We know thee, Lord. We love thee, and will follow thee. We pledge again our lives, our all, to thy cause.
How grateful I am for Christ’s arrival here on Earth. How blessed I feel to know who He is and to know why He came. What a privilege I’ve been given to follow His footsteps and try to become more like him.
I would like to also testify that I know that Jesus Christ lives. I have felt his influence in my life. I know that he is, indeed, our Savior. I know that his life was the perfect pattern for us to follow. I know that if we follow Him, we will know him as we become more like him. I know that as we know him, we will find peace and happiness, as He truly is, The Prince of Peace.
That is my testimony.