Saturday, December 12, 2009
God So Loved the World
I enjoy the Christmas season. I like the colors of Christmas. I like the Christmas music. I marvel at the softening of hearts that come at Christmas time. The spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (Saint John 3:16-17). God, our Father in Heaven, loves all of His children so much that He sent his First Born Son to live on earth that His other children might have the opportunity to return to God's presence. Our Father's gift to us is His Son Jesus Christ. He gave Christ to us for our benefit. As a parent, I learned a little about the great love that our Father in Heaven showed when He gave this gift. Some years ago my third daughter was playing soccer in Texas. She had the soccer ball and was on a break away run towards the goal. The opposing goalie ran out to stop my daughter from making a goal. In doing so, she planted her feet on my daughter's leg and broke both of the bones in her lower leg in several places. Our doctor would later tell us that he rarely saw such serious breaks from sports because they usually came from such things as car accidents. My daughter was treated in Texas and then made the long and painful trip back to Alaska. After a couple of weeks of pain, x-rays, and counseling with doctors, the determination was made that the bone would not stabilize on its own but would need more help than just a cast. Surgery was performed to install a titanium rod down the inside of her tibia. I've been told that bone pain is the worst kind of pain, even worse than child birth, and I believe it. I was with my daughter when she came out of surgery. She kept crying out with pain until a nurse would come to give her some pain killer. It seemed that only a minute or so would go by before she was crying out with pain again. It was a very difficult experience to watch a beloved child suffer such pain and to not be able to do anything to help her. I had to let her suffer until someone else would come to help her. While I was thus watching my daughter suffer, a thought went through my mind that I believe was personal revelation. The thought was, "This is how Heavenly Father felt as He watched His Son, Jesus Christ, suffer in Gethsemane and on the cross." This was a very shocking thought for me because I had never previously considered Heavenly Father's pain in connection with the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…." He gave us the greatest gift that He could give to us and at great personal cost. I know this to be true because I have tasted of that pain. How can we show Him that we appreciate His gift to us? The only way that we can adequately show our gratitude for this great gift is to make room in our hearts and in our lives for His Son, Jesus Christ.