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.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Make Christmas Real

                A few days ago I wrote a post about the three levels of Christmas and linked to an article by John Bytheway.  I think about the concept of three levels of Christmas almost every day.  You might remember that the three levels of Christmas are (1) the Santa Claus level, (2) the Baby Jesus level, and (3) the adult Jesus level.

                Almost everyone loves the Santa Claus level because it brings all the excitement of Christmas – decorating the Christmas tree, searching for the perfect present, secrets, whispers, Christmas parties, and much more.   This is the level that brings the colors of Christmas – red and green, fun Christmas songs like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and baking Christmas cookies.  There is much to love about this level, but it should not be our only level.

                The Baby Jesus level brings the sacred Christmas hymns and Nativity decorations.   We like to serve others and take tasty treats to our neighbors.  Our thoughts go to Mary and Joseph arriving at the inn and finding no room for them.  We think of the shepherds in the fields with their flocks and suddenly seeing angels and hearing them sing songs of praise.  We think of the wise men that saw the new star in the sky and traveled far to see the new King.  We act out the Nativity story while reading in Luke about the first Christmas.  Some of us actually sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  This level brings sacred feelings of sacredness and love for all mankind.

                Then there is the adult Jesus level, the level of Christmas can stay with us all year.  At this level, we do not leave Baby Jesus in the manger but see Him grow to adulthood.  We see him walk the roads of Palestine blessing many people; we see Him heal the sick, cause the blind to see, and raise the dead.  We hear His Sermon on the Mount.  We see Him arrested, tried in a mock trial, hung on the cross; we see Him give His life to atone for our sins.  We see Him rise on the third day as a resurrected Being.  This is the Jesus that we worship.  We worship Him because He paid the price for our sins and then was resurrected; He prepared the way back to Heavenly Father’s presence.  He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Friend, and our Advocate with the Father.

                The people living in ancient America knew the Son of God was born in Bethlehem because they saw the promised signs in their own land.  One of the signs was a day and a night and a day with no darkness.  “There was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day.  And … the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that Lord should be born” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 1:19).

                President Thomas S. Monson suggested how we can celebrate the adult Jesus type of Christmas:  “We must make Christmas real.  It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives.  Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting.  It is happiness because we see joy in people.  It is forgetting self and finding time for others.  It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.  It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings.  It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others” (A Future As Bright As Your Faith, [2015], p. 367).

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