SilentOne

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  • Birthday 10/27/1986

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  1. At this Christmas time of year, we rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, who has invited us all to come unto Him and into the light. We can read in the scriptures of the men and women who were blessed to literally come to Him at the time of the Nativity. Some came from afar, while others were closer by. Some received angelic visitations, and others acted on personal revelation. But each accepted the invitation to come to Him. What can we learn from the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, and the Wise Men, all of whom were favored to come and see the Christ child with their own eyes? As we ponder their faithful responses to the invitation to come to Christ, we can learn to more effectively lift ourselves out of our own inversions, out of any gloom and confusion we may be experiencing, and bring ourselves into the clear, pure hope offered by the Light of the World. Patrick Kearon, Come, Let Us Adore Him Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 ...he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile. 2 Nephi 26:33
  2. ...no baby had ever been born about whom so much was already known, of whom so much had already been written, and regarding whom so much was already expected. Indeed, knowledge about who and what He was started in the realms of heaven before anyone had been born! As Firstborn of the Father in the world of spirits, He was designated there to be the Savior of the world, foreordained to be “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Later, but still prior to His birth, He would be the grand Jehovah of the Old Testament, helping Noah save his family in time of flood and aiding Joseph save his family in time of famine. He was the magisterial Jehovah whose names would include “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” He was the Alpha and Omega in the great plan of mercy that would eventually “preach good tidings unto the meek; … bind up the brokenhearted, … proclaim liberty to the captives, and [open] the prison to them that are bound.” To accomplish this, He would tread the wine press of redemption utterly and entirely alone, with no mortal companion who would aid Him and no heavenly companion who could. In bearing all the sins and sorrows of mortality, He would bring the incomprehensible gift of salvation to the entire human family, from Adam to the end of the world. In the full course of His journey, He would be “the Shepherd and Bishop of [our] souls,” the great “High Priest of our profession,”10 the free-flowing “fountain of all righteousness.” All of these mortal duties and demands had yet to be met. But not tonight. Not this night. Here He was just a baby in the arms of a mother who adored Him, watched over by a father who was gentle and strong. Jeffrey R. Holland, The Dreams of Bethlehem Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11
  3. Angels, shepherds, and Wise Men sought and found peace from their faith in Jesus Christ. So will you. The Savior’s birth is the gift that makes it possible for the Father to give us “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” We shouted for joy in the spirit world when we heard of that promise. Peace and joy come to us again when we hear words sung proclaiming that God’s loving promise was kept: All is calm, all is bright. … Glories stream from heaven afar; Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia! Christ, the Savior, is born! Henry B. Eyring, Gifts of Peace Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.... Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4, 6-7
  4. Isaiah’s message to our troubled world continues to be, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Elder Quentin L. Cook taught, “One of the most cherished titles of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is ‘Prince of Peace’ [Isaiah 9:6]. … His kingdom will be established including peace and love.” As we read the words found in Luke this year, I hope you’ll consider the words of the “multitude of the heavenly host praising God,” when they said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” I have pondered these words and thought that it might be appropriate for us to consider this as a declaration that “on the earth is now Peace.” “Peace has come!” they might have exclaimed. For, literally, on that evening in that humble stall, the very “Prince of Peace” was come to earth. W. Mark Bassett, Blessed Are the Peacemakers But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. Ephesians 2:13-17
  5. The world in which we live, whether close to home or far away, needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. It provides the only way the world will ever know peace.… We need a more peaceful world, growing out of more peaceful families and neighborhoods and communities. To secure and cultivate such peace, “we must love others, even our enemies as well as our friends” [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 393]. We need to extend the hand of friendship. We need to be kinder, more gentle, more forgiving, and slower to anger. Howard W. Hunter, A More Excellent Way Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Ephesians 6:23-24
  6. ...despite life’s hardships, the message of the Lord to each of us is the same today as it was to the shepherds keeping watch two thousand years ago: “Fear not.” Perhaps the angel’s injunction to fear not has more transcendent relevance to us today than it did in calming the shepherds’ fear that first Christmas night. Could he also have meant for us to understand that because of the Savior, fear will never triumph? to reinforce that ultimate fear is never justified? to remind us that no earthly problem need be lasting, that none of us is beyond redeeming? The sweetest gift given at Christmas will always be the one our Savior Himself gave us: His perfect peace.... Even in a world where peace seems far off, the Savior’s gift of peace can live in our hearts regardless of our circumstances. If we accept the Savior’s invitation to follow Him, lasting fear is forever banished. Our future has been secured. These are the “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” L. Whitney Clayton, Fear Not The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23
  7. God has given you the capacity to exercise faith so that you may find peace, joy, and purpose in life. However, to employ its power, that faith must be rooted in something secure. There is no more solid foundation than faith in the love Heavenly Father has for you, faith in His plan of happiness, and faith in the willingness and power of Jesus Christ to fulfill all His promises. Richard G. Scott, Living a Life of Peace, Joy, and Purpose These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  8. Peace and good tidings; good tidings and peace. These are among the ultimate blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings a troubled world and the troubled people who live in it, solutions to personal struggles and human sinfulness, a source of strength for days of weariness and hours of genuine despair.... We have been promised, “He that keepeth [us] will not slumber, … nor [will he] sleep.” Christ and His angels and His prophets forever labor to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope. They wish all to know that “if God be for us, who can be against us?” In the world we shall have tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world. Through His suffering and His obedience He has earned and rightly bears the crown of “Prince of Peace.” Jeffrey R. Holland, The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
  9. The feeling of longing for home is born into us. That wonderful dream cannot become real without great faith—enough for the Holy Ghost to lead us to repentance, baptism, and the making and keeping of sacred covenants with God. This faith requires enduring bravely the trials of mortal life. Then, in the next life, we can be welcomed by our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son to that home of our dreams. Even in this life we can have an assurance of the coming of that day and feel some of the joys we will know when at last we arrive home. The celebration of the Savior’s birth at Christmas gives us special opportunities to experience those joys in this life. Henry B. Eyring, Home for Christmas He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Isaiah 25:8-9
  10. Christmas carols are a special feature of the season. They bring feelings of joy to our hearts as they describe the events and significance of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that many Christmas hymns speak of angels. This is because the biblical record contains numerous accounts of heavenly beings speaking to mortals before and at the time of His birth. Merrill J. Bateman, A Season for Angels And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:30-33 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21
  11. ...the Resurrection and Atonement wrought by the Savior and the promise of eternal life with our loved ones are of such overwhelming significance that to not rejoice would demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Savior’s gift. Joy comes when we have the Spirit in our lives (see Alma 22:15). When we have the Spirit, we rejoice in what the Savior has done for us. Quentin L. Cook, Rejoice! But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
  12. But despite all we can do, we cannot have a fulness of joy in this world or through our own efforts. (See D&C 101:36.) Only in Christ can our joy be full. This is why the angel proclaimed: “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. “For unto you is born this day … a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”... God’s mercy is the only source of the ultimate and eternal joy, which restores every loss, dries every tear, and erases every pain. Eternal joy transcends all suffering. In this life and in the life to come, that joy comes about through the Resurrection and the remission of sins. Dallin H. Oaks, Joy and Mercy The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Psalm 97:1
  13. These are the “good tidings of great joy” we celebrate at Christmas—not only that Christ was born but that He lived among us, gave His life for us, was resurrected, and ultimately “finished the work which [His Father gave Him] to do.” We rejoice because the confusion and chaos of this world can be hushed by the promise made to us from the very beginning—a promise fulfilled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For this reason, the story of Christmas is not fully told without the story of Easter. It was the Savior’s atoning sacrifice that made holy the silent night in Bethlehem. It was His gift of redemption that caused us to shout for joy in the premortal world—this gift that heals our sickness, restores our sight, and wipes away all tears. Craig C. Christensen, The Fulness of the Story of Christmas For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
  14. My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, 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.” And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy! That is why our missionaries leave their homes to preach His gospel. Their goal is not to increase the number of Church members. Rather, our missionaries teach and baptize to bring joy to the people of the world! Russell M. Nelson, Joy and Spiritual Survival And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:8-18
  15. Those who find a way to truly behold the Man find the doorway to life’s greatest joys and the balm to life’s most demanding despairs. So, when you are encompassed by sorrows and grief, behold the Man. When you feel lost or forgotten, behold the Man. When you are despairing, deserted, doubting, damaged, or defeated, behold the Man. He will comfort you. He will heal you and give meaning to your journey. He will pour out His Spirit and fill your heart with exceeding joy. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Behold the Man! Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. 3 Nephi 1:13