Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Son of God

                Christmas is the day and season to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; however, we do not celebrate Christmas because a baby was born.  We celebrate the birth of Christ because of what He did during His life; we celebrate Christmas because He gave His life and then overcame death.  We celebrate Christmas because of what Easter represents.

                Many prophets have testified that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  Jesus also testified to this fact when He appeared to ancient Americans.  “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 11:10).

                Have you ever considered what our world would be like if Heavenly Father had not sent His Son to earth?  It is hard to imagine a world without the example, principles, and teachings of Jesus Christ.  Without Jesus Christ, we would be living in a very wicked world with no hope for a better one.  God the Father gave His Son to the world that we might have an opportunity to gain eternal life, and Jesus Christ gave His life to provide that opportunity to all who believe in Him.

                John, the Beloved Apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote, “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” (John 3:16).

                I know a little bit about sending a beloved son out into the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In fact, both of my sons went on such missions, and each of them spent two years of their lives sharing the teachings of the Lord.  I know some of the concerns of such a parent.  I can only imagine what it was like for our Father in Heaven to send His Son, knowing full well the suffering He would do.

                I had a little taste of what the Father must have felt as He watched His Son suffered, bleed, and die.  When my sixteen-year-old daughter broke her tibia playing soccer, the break was such that surgery needed to be performed for her leg to heal correctly.  The doctor made a hole in the broken bone just under my daughter’s knee, sucked out all the bone marrow, and inserted a titanium rod that went from the ankle to the knee.  The pain was excruciating.

                When she recovered from the surgery, she was taken to a hospital room before the doctor’s orders arrived at the nurses’ station.  My daughter was in great pain, and I would call for the nurse to give her something for the pain.  The nurse came immediately but could only give her enough medication to last a few minutes while she awaited the doctor’s orders.  As I watched my daughter suffer, I hurt just knowing how she was suffering.  I would have done anything to save her from the pain, but all I could do was call for the nurse to give more pain medication and pray for God’s blessings upon her.  As I watched my daughter suffer such great pain, the Holy Ghost whispered to my soul, “This is how Heavenly Father felt as He watched His Son suffer.”  There is nothing worse for a parent than to watch one’s child suffering.  How grateful I am that Heavenly Father loved us so much that He allowed Jesus Christ to suffer for our benefit.  Heavenly Father’s gift came at great sacrifice for both Himself and His Son.  Heavenly Father gave His Son, and Jesus Christ gave His life for us.

                “Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who condescended to come into this world of misery, struggle, and pain to touch men’s hearts for good, to teach the way of eternal life, and to give Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.  How different, how empty our lives would be without Him.  How infinite is our opportunity for exaltation made possible through His redeeming love” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand A Little Taller, p. 376).

                The testimony of Luke states that the anguish of the Savior was so great that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). 

                The suffering of Jesus Christ in Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary included both physical and spiritual pain.  King Benjamin said “he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 3:7).

                The Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation in March 1830, and in this revelation Jesus Christ described His suffering.  “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all….
                “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink –
                “Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19).        
                I love the Father, and I love the Son.  I am so very grateful for the sacrifices of both of them.  I am grateful for this Christmas season when I can join with millions of others in singing praises for the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Son.  The Savior has done more for me and for all mankind that any of us could do for ourselves.  He has brought meaning to our life here on earth and has given us the gift of eternal life.  His influence in my life has stirred me to be a better person, to be more kind, and to show more love, concern, and respect to other people.

                I love the Christmas carols proclaiming joy for the birth of the Savior.  They bring such peace to me in this uncertain world and hope for a much better world.  I loved to sing many hymns praising the Father and the Son, but I especially appreciate a hymn entitled “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, 193; text and music by Charles H. Gabriel).  It describes my feelings about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

                I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
                I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

                I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.
                That he should extend his great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

                I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!  Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
                No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

                Chorus:  Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me!

                Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

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