My mom wrote this beautiful lesson for Christmas Day.
We often chide ourselves and our children that Christmas should be about giving, not receiving. Yet all we do is in remembrance and celebration of that perfect gift, delivered to us in a stable in Bethlehem in the meridian of time. All other gifts are dependent on that one, the gift of a Savior; without it agency, mortality, repentance, ordinances, covenants are ineffectual and the Plan of Salvation void.
And so let us open five final gifts. Gifts that fill the smallest newborn heart and the universe. Gifts that light every dark place. Gifts that make this life and eternity possible. Gifts from our Savior. For this is His day.
In the premortal world, God's firstborn son, Jehovah, gave His will entirely to righteousness. This absolute faith and devotion allowed Him to fully comprehend the Father's plan and made Him both worthy and able to serve as Savior. He sought no honor, no glory, but only to do His Father's will: He consecrated Himself to the Plan and to our salvation. He had allowed His spirit to be shaped by the hand of Elohim and Elohim made Jehovah like unto Himself.
"And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I,s end me. And the Lord said: I will send the first." Abraham 3: 27
Having consecrated Himself on our behalf to the Father's Plan, Jesus gave His mortal life to us as well. He walked among the poor, the lame, the outcast, and the sinner teaching the way of righteousness and ministering to their needs. The scriptures record His journey from newborn babe to a youth of twelve when His worried mother found Him in the temple teaching learned men the doctrines of God. Then, increasing in wisdom and in stature, He traveled throughout Galilee calling His twelve disciples and establishing His Church. He walked on the hillside and gathered those that would listen to hear His sermon of beatitudes. He walked on the waters and taught Peter about faith. He washed the dust of miles from His friends' feet. Mary sat with Him and received the better part. He stood at the well and offered a Samaritan woman the water of life. He drove the sellers from the temple. He battled Satan. He knelt before God. He trod the road to Golgotha. All for us.
"And his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Luke 2: 48-49
Though He would still bleed on the cross, the blood Christ shed for us in the Garden binds us to Him, secures our hopes of repentance and justification. There, His certainly calloused, work-worn yet clean hands clasped in prayer and reached out to clasp our stained hands in His. Then, not shrinking from His covenants, He took our sins into His hands--and bore what is intolerable to Righteousness.
Yes. He offered His spotless hands and, clasping ours, bled in anguish as unknown sin seared His righteous flesh and bound Him to us, us to Him, through the clasp that made brother father of our souls. And surely we are His.
"He that ascended up on high as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth." Doctrine and Covenants 88: 6
"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." Doctrine and Covenants 19: 16-19
Having made an offering of blood and prayer in the Garden, Christ then offered up His body and spirit as He bled on the cross. In this ordeal prophecy was fulfilled and the Plan of Salvation secured, and us with it should we choose His way.
"For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance." Doctrine and Covenants 18: 11-12
"For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yeah, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord. Yeah, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death--that spiritual death; for all mankind, but the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both to things temporal and to things spiritual. But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord." Helaman 14: 15-17
And this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that all men shall live who come unto Him. What is the Gospel? It is the good news that Jesus can save us from our fallen selves and make us right. Though all was necessary--His will, His life, His blood, His body--it is because of His love, His righteousness, that He is God and has the power to save.
I read His words, the words He prayed
while bearing sorrow in Gethsemane;
I feel His love, the price He paid:
How many drops of blood were shed for me?
With saints of old in joyful cry
I too can testify: This is the Christ.
This is the Christ, the Holy Son of God,
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind.
This is the Christ, the healer of our souls
who ransomed us with love divine.
~From "This is the Christ" by James E. Faust and Jan PinboroughHappy Christmas!