Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas is a Greater Show

It’s the Christmas season, and once again both Hollywood and politically correct supporters want to steal the show. It is disturbing how far we have sunk in the name of political correctness. It is unbearable to think of the sacrifices that our Founding Fathers made for this Country to supply us with the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and so forth. So much of the founding was based on Judeo-Christian principles and patterns that have worked well in past democracies and republics. But the name of Jesus Christ is no longer politically correct. In this world of sophistry reigning supreme, it is still the meek that shall inherit the earth (See Matt 5:5). Why? Because our Lord and Savior said so.

As I have studied the scriptures from childhood through my 53rd year here on this earth, one thing has been made clear to me. The Lord has always done the will of the Father (See John 5:30), putting His own needs and interests on the altar of sacrifice, and supplying for our constant welfare and support, in both offering us peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come, if we will but accept Him as our Savior and determine to follow Him (See Matthew 16:24). Following His example means that we must also put our needs and interests on the altar of sacrifice by giving to Him a broken heart and a contrite spirit. What does that mean? It means that we keep His commandments…all of them…to the very best of our ability; and, it means that we accept His laws, recognizing that they are never obsolete, no matter how many people scoff and scorn and shake their fists. Hopefully, those who have chosen to do so will find their way to repentance before that is all that they are able to do.

Another thing that I have learned is that Lucifer or Satan is very capable in his abilities of persuasion (See Revelation 12:3-9), but somehow he seems to have remained underdeveloped, like an everlasting self-centered teenager. Truly part of our real growth into maturity comes from our submitting ourselves to the will of the Father. Have you noticed that those who put their own wants, needs, and desires before the common good of their own families or humanity as a whole, care very little for the wants, needs, and desires of their fellowmen? They possess underdeveloped souls, every searching for pleasure and reassurance that their ways are just as truthful and good as the Lord’s ways, because they serve their purposes, and their personal freedoms are paramount in their own eyes. But they do not foresee how their self-centeredness affects everyone else around them and society as a whole. So instead of accepting that they indeed might be in the wrong, they proclaim that there is no right or wrong, that there is no God and no devil. The devil has perpetuated this common lie since the very beginning of time. Interesting, isn’t it, how he puts evil thoughts and desires into men’s hearts and then he tells them, “I am no devil, for there is none (See 2 Nephi 28:21-22)?” He must feel jolly good about himself to fool so many.

And that brings us back to Heavenly Father’s true plan for us. Since Adam and Eve, our Heavenly Father has supplied His spirit sons and daughters a correct family model to bring forth all the families of the earth. And God gave Adam and Eve this commandment in the Garden of Eden, “To multiply and replenish the earth (See Genesis 1:28).” He further explained this commandment, stating that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).” This is God’s pattern for the family. There is no other. But Hollywood and television media have been carefully working out new family patterns since the 50s and 60s to gear people up for Satan’s eventually well-accepted lie that all relationships are equal and that there is no set pattern for the family. And as family life has been misplaced by government programs, the erosion of society has been underway. And for those who think that it is all okay, No, it is not. This has happened before in other societies, and they were destroyed (See Genesis 19). Vanity of vanities, there is nothing new under the sun (See Ecclesiastes 1).

Why is the family unit important (See The Family: A Proclamation to the World)? Being placed in families gives us the greatest potential for growth in our lives and in our development to become more like our Heavenly Father. Husband and wife work together to supply the best environment that they can for their children. If they have entered their relationship responsibly, with maturity, covenanting with each other and with God, they sacrifice many of their own needs and desires for one another and for their children. They put the welfare of the entire family at the forefront of everything they do, not just exalting one person’s interests at the disparity of all others. They seek to follow the Father's will. Doesn't that sound familiar? It is the pattern that the Lord set for us in putting the common welfare of all people above his own comfort and welfare. The family allows us to establish an environment that is in keeping with God’s law and that helps us develop into mature selfless beings that are becoming more like our Heavenly Father.

Now I am not a perfect family member, but I do try to do what is right. There are many things that I have chosen not to do because I knew that those things would bring dishonor to both my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father. As a parent, many of my decisions have been based upon what is good for my husband in his professional endeavors; what is good for our children in their growth, learning, and progression into adulthood; and what is the Lord's will. As a result, I have not been diminished in any way; but, if anything, have become more accomplished as a result. Also, there are many things that I have chosen to do, because I was taught by good Christian parents who established a healthy environment for learning and growth, and because I have personally studied the scriptures, tried to be of Christian service, and gained a firm faith, hope, and testimony of my Lord Jesus Christ. This pattern we have sought to perpetuate in our own home.

And for the things I have done wrong, I have felt appropriately guilty, acknowledged my errors to God and to those He deemed necessary, and recommitted myself to His plan for me. As children of the Highest, we are never promoting ourselves well by leaving His path and going on our own merry way, thinking that we are now free. Cain made that mistake in the beginning (See Moses 5:30-33). And so it has continued; we bring personal and perpetual destruction when we deviate from God’s course. In contrast, the best way to promote ourselves is to follow God’s plan. He has so much more to offer us (See Luke 14:11, Moses 1:39).

So much of what happens in the media today seems to draw our attention away from what is most important. If we would all receive direction to focus on the Savior of mankind, we would begin to heal as a nation (See 2 Chronicles 7:14). Because of the easiness of such a choice, to just turn and look to the Savior, many turn themselves about and seek disparaging counsel and continue to struggle in darkness (See John 3:14-15; 1 Nephi 17:41). There is no peace and salvation offered that can reach to every struggling mortal soul than that which has been offered by God in the gift of His Son Jesus Christ (See John 3:16-17). He is the way, the truth, and the life (See John 14:6). There is no other way that is acceptable than the Lord’s way. And the Lord’s way cannot be changed or eradicated. Like the Lord, His ways are eternal. And the established pattern of families to include a husband and a wife, who may become a father and mother, who may be blessed with children that Heavenly Father sends to that union is not just a pattern, but it is eternal law. No matter what man does to obliterate God’s laws, they will still stand. Those who worship the Father in spirit and in truth, those who trust in the words of the prophet and the atoning sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son, these are the ones who will be blessed for adherence to the laws despite the ridicule and condemnation of the world. These are those whom Jesus prayed for, and these are those whom He will claim (See John 17:9-26).

So back to the Christmas Season. May the Spirit of Christ reign in our hearts throughout this season and throughout all the years ahead! May we decide that Jesus will be our focus and that the distractions of the world will only serve to make us more determined to both follow Him and pray for our fellowmen to have the opportunity for a change of heart, a chance for repentance, and the gift of following Him in their own lives. Christmas is a reality. This season is not just a holiday. It is a celebration of a Holy Day: the day that our Lord and Savior was born, fulfilling the prophecies of all the holy prophets, and bringing us hope of his glorious sacrifice and our impending rebirth and salvation through Him. And Christmas grows in ever deeper importance because Easter is a reality. Jesus Christ lives. To Him be all praise and glory both now and forevermore. The captive shall go free. All shall live again. And the righteous shall be exalted through His perfect grace and holiness. Let us turn our hearts and thoughts back to the Savior. He will not forsake us, and He will offer us His perfect peace in the midst of unsettling times (See John 14:27).

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