Monday, December 21, 2015

Finding the Joy in Christmas

This time of year I find myself reflecting on the events leading up to the birth of our Savior. I read passages from the New Testament that share what transpired. I marvel at the great faith that Mary and Joseph exhibited. In my mind I picture the shepherds and their reaction to the appearance of an angel who told them about the birth of Jesus Christ. Their initial reaction was fear, which gradually transformed to great joy as they sought out the tiny Christ Child.

Wise men faithfully watched for a predicted sign, and then led by the Spirit and a marvelous star, they journeyed to bring gifts and to show their devotion to their Savior.

As I reread about these sacred events, I ponder how I would have reacted. Would I have had the courage and faith to be with the shepherds and wisemen, or would I have blocked my heart to the spirit of the time? Would I have rationalized away the great miracle and gone on with my daily tasks, oblivious to what was taking place?

Fast forward a "few" (okay, over 2000) years to our day. There are still shepherds and wise men among us who daily worship our Savior. They are the ones who bravely stand up for all that is right and good in this world. They are the ones who reach out to help those who are struggling or less fortunate. Through their acts of kindness they are showing their devotion to Jesus Christ. In following His example, they are reflecting a way of life that will bring true happiness and eternal joy.

So during this busy/crazy time of year when we're all rushing about preparing for the Christmas season, may we each take a moment to ponder what we're really celebrating. Reflect on the numerous ways our lives are blessed by the birth of our Elder Brother. Do those things that help us capture the true spirit of the season. Reach out to those around you who may be struggling. Offer a smile or a thoughtful word to someone who may need it. Be kinder and more patient with those who cause frustration. Keep in mind that most of us are on the same path, trying to find our way. Instead of pushing and shoving as we hurry forward, take the time to aid those whose footsteps falter. In short, the best gifts we can give to Jesus will be those that come from the heart. As we reach out to the people around us, we are reaching out to our Savior. (See Matthew 25:34-40)