Hello Everyone, and Merry Christmas!
"And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search [the writings of Isaiah]. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah."
"Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?"
We got snow finally in Ballston Spa, it looked like someone just spilled a bag of powdered sugar on the grass and it was gone by 9:00am BUT IT WAS SNOW NONETHELESS.
Anyways, as promised here are some thoughts on the Christmas Season we're at the height of currently. I was recently asked to give a Christmas thought at a Mission Christmas Conference that we had, so turning to the Book of Mormon I began thumbing through the pages following the sign in the heavens that the Son of God had been born. Not finding what I felt was important I continued skimming the pages, going past the signs of his coming, the destruction following his death, and continued on through his ministration to the children of Lehi. Just before I turned a page, a verse in the bottom corner caught my eye. It turned out to be the first verse of 3 Nephi 23 which reads:
So I thought to myself "Fair enough" and promptly repeated the process I had begun in 3 Nephi in the book of Isaiah. Skimming through chapter by chapter, reading the summaries and key verses. And truly Isaiah's writings are full of testimony concerning the coming of Christ. Many marvelous words, penned by an ancient prophet, still hold amazing weight to us in our days, and I echo the Savior's request to search diligently the words of Isaiah. But the search I was on continued chapter by chapter until I reached chapter 40 of Isaiah. One verse of this messianic chapter stood out to me in bright contrast and turned into the inspiration for the noted Christmas thought and this post. The verse in question is verse 21 which reads:
I think at one point or another I've described my love for questions in scripture. I love them. They sink deep into my hearts and cause reflection upon my actions and understanding. This particular verse poses 4 questions in rapid succession that can be posed at anybody concerning Christ, or in this case the Christmas Season. Concerning this Christmas season we could easily modify the questions to the following:
Don't you know the reason we celebrate?
Have you not heard the "glad tidings of great joy"?
Hasn't this message been shared since the beginning?
Have you not sought to understand this message?
In growing depth these questions simply probe as to our understanding of this wondrous season. It's a great gift that Christmas comes each year and wasn't just a one-time-deal for the reason that it gives us a chance to reflect upon his birth, upon the mortal beginnings of the Son of God. It is a special time of year that carries with it joy, peace, and love to all those to seek to understand the import of those angelic words spoken millennia ago:
Coming to mortal men was their Savior, the one who could bring personal peace, lasting happiness, and indescribable joy. What tidings could be more joyous and glad? It is my testimony that this Christmas season is special, but only becomes such as we grow in understanding of our Savior. This season is special because it's His season. It's my desire, for me and you, that we will come to feel the joy and love that this Christmas Season has to offer as we draw nearer to our Savior. Seek him diligently like the Wise Men of old who traveled far to meet their Redeemer, or like the shepherds who made haste to behold the Babe of Bethlehem.
I love you all, and I love this wonderful season and all that it brings with it. Merry Christmas!
Love, Elder Gailey