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 24, 2022

Do You Feel the Joy of Christmas?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week was a week of preparing my heart and soul to celebrate Christmas. The lesson was introduced with the following information. 

The Old Testament carries a spirit of eager anticipation. In that way, it’s a little bit like the Christmas season. Beginning with Adam and Eve, Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, poets, and people looked forward to better days, filled with hope for renewal and deliverance by the Messiah. And the Israelites were frequently in need of that hope—whether they were in captivity in Egypt or Babylon or held captive by their own sin or rebellion. Through it all, prophets reminded them that a Messiah, a Deliverer, would come “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

That hope began to be realized when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. The mighty Deliverer of Israel was born in a stable and laid in a manger (see Luke 2:7). But He wasn’t just the Deliverer of the ancient Israelites. He came to deliver you—to bear your grief, to carry your sorrows, to be bruised for your iniquities, so that with His stripes you can be healed (see Isaiah 53:4-5). This is why Christmas is so full of joyful anticipation even today. The Messiah came over 2,000 years ago, and He continues to come into our lives whenever we seek Him.

Christmas is a joyful season to most people in the world, even to those who are not Christian. The Spirit of Christmas, or the Spirit of Christ, causes good feelings among all people. For those in difficult circumstances, the important Christmas message is that the Savior can ease our burdens and help us find peace and joy. For His disciples, the Christmas season is full of joy as we join with millions of other people in celebrating His birth and His life. The Christmas season provides opportunities to spread the joy of Christ in service to other people. Centuries before the Savior was born, the prophets in the Old Testament also felt joy as they spoke of the coming of the Messiah.

Many of the traditions associated with Christmas can have symbolic meanings that point us to Christ. Star-shaped decorations and cookies remind us of the bright star that appeared in the sky on the night of the birth of Jesus. Carolers can remind us of the angels who appeared to the shepherds and sang hosannas in celebration.

            President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught the following about finding joy in learning about God’s plan for the salvation and happiness of His children.

When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening – or not happening – in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” [Hymns, no. 201]. And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy! …

Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding” [Philippians 4:7], He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2016, 82). 

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