Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Dawn Of Redeeming Grace

I love that phrase taken from the hymn "Silent Night." For me, it really sums up what Christmas is all about. The word "dawn" can be taken in two ways here. It can be taken literally as in "Christmas morning" or more subtly as it suggests in Webster's dictionary, " to begin to appear, develop"; or "to begin to be understood or felt."

Christ's advent was the beginning of so many things for so many people. I like the the way the wise men understood that the new star which appeared in the heavens meant something significant for them. Not only did it appear but they must have felt something in order to follow it and inquire about it. It required action on the part of those who saw it. The shepherds needed to follow it to find the babe lying in the manger as they had been told by the angel. They were told outright that the babe was "A savior, Christ the Lord." The wise men needed to ponder the meaning of the star and decide to follow it as well so they could find Jesus and worship him.

God gave His only begotten Son for us. That  evidence is all around us. God sent His Son because He loved us. He didn't want us to guess about Christ or just hope for the reality that we could indeed have a Savior. God placed a new star in the heavens to illuminate where our Christ was. That baby became our Savior. That Savior fulfilled all His father asked Him to do, for us. "Redeeming Grace" is such a beautiful term. The dictionary says that redeem means "to buy or get back; recover; to ransom; to deliver from sin; to fulfill  (a promise); to make amends or atone for." Christ did that for us. God, our Father in Heaven sent His son to do that for us. Because He loves us.

The shepherds were humble enough to seek the Savior and find him after the angels told them where to look. The wise men were also humble enough to seek Him as well. Then they worshiped Him and brought Him gifts. Christ was born a king. The king who would redeem His people.

So it is Christmas morning. Everyone is still asleep. I'm always the early bird. I wait for everyone else. While I wait, I ponder. I read the scriptures and I think about what they mean. More importantly, I think about what I need to "do" about what I find in them. The wise men didn't just look at the star and say, "great star but we're so busy." They journeyed and pondered and found the source of their redemption. The scriptures don't tell us what the wise men did after they returned to their own countries. We are left to wonder what we would do if we were them.

For me, the knowledge I have that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ motivates me. I don't want to just live my life and die someday and just have my life been lived as one who said, "great star but I'm just so busy." I'd like my life to reflect that I "understood and felt," then lived as if Christ's "redeeming grace" is really important to me.

It really is important to me. And I am so grateful.

Merry Christmas.

"And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." Ether 12:41 (The Book of Mormon)

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