Friday, December 23, 2011

A Merry Mormon Christmas! (3 Nephi 1:13)

Sorry for no post yesterday--it was a totally busier day than I anticipated! Anyway, I totally wanted to put up a post on body image issues, as that subject has been on my mind lately, but I think this will be my last chance to post before Christmas, so I wanted to put up a special Christmas post! My day today is pretty much planned out and I'll be driving home for the holidays (finally!!!) a significant portion of the time, not getting in until early morning hours on Christmas Eve. I definitely don't plan to blog on Christmas Eve or Christmas either. :) So, my body image post will have to wait. In fact, it will probably be delayed almost a week, because in the days right after Christmas I'm planning on telling my parents (eek!) so I'm sure that topic is going to consume my blogging time. Anyway...

One of my favorite Christmas stories is the one told in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi chapter 1. The believers of Christ have been waiting the five years Samuel prophecied for Christ to come. When the fifth year arrives without any signs of the Savior's birth, there begins to be some conflict...

5 There were some who began to say that he time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel the Lamanite.
6 And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.

Some people are just waiting for God to be wrong. They relish the thought and can't wait for the slightest bit of proof against God, usually merely to validate their lives lived contrary to His will. I bear no ill will for people like this. If there are some who don't want to be part of my "joy and faith concerning this thing," then so be it. Their loss. I hope we can still be friends. Unfortunately for those in our story, the unbelievers aren't satisfied merely sitting back passively disagreeing. Quite to the contrary, in fact:

9 Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions [the prophecied signs of the Savior's birth] should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had ben given by Samuel the prophet.

Nephi, the prophet, is a little concerned (to put it lightly). He's already had to be patient when the sign didn't come right at the 5 year mark from Samuel's prophecies. Now if the sign doesn't come, he and all his loved ones are going to be killed! So, he kneels down to talk to God about it and receives the following glorious message from the Lord:

13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

That to me is as classic a Christmas verse as the entirety of Luke 2 (and if you've been tracking the scriptures I use on this blog, you've probably noticed that I value the New Testamen pretty highly!). I love how the first words Christ speaks--a message to "Be of good cheer"--echo the sentiments expressed to Mary and to the shepherds in the Old World. I love also the reminder of the reward for Nephi's patience--that God fulfills everything He promises.

I also love the insight this story gives into why God can't solve all my trials for me whenever I want: because the world is a big place and God has other children too! Think about it: it would have been really nice for Nephi and the believers if the signs had just happened on the exact 5 year mark from Samuel's prophecy. But if God had spared them that trial, think about the implications for Joseph and Mary! Who knows how premature the birth would have been or what other disadvantageous circumstances would have come about. I mean, even to scoot the time up by one day would have meant that Mary would have given birth in the wilderness somewhere between Nazareth and Bethlehem. Not ideal. Furthermore, perhaps what the saints in Nephi's land really needed was that trial of patience to make them truly firm in their faith.

I've said it before on this blog, but it never hurts to say it again: living a faithful LDS covenant life with SSA is a game of patience. I have faith that God "will fulfil all that which [He has] caused to be spoken by the mouth of [His] holy prophets." If I live faithful I will find my eternal companion, as has been promised me. It might not be soon. What if it isn't in this life? So be it. I will wait, and along the way I will "be of good cheer!"

To all you faithful readers, many of whom have become great friends though I've never seen your faces: I love you! I wish everyone the Merriest Christmas and will write again to you after Christmas Day.

My best,


P.S. If you want an absolutely absurd Christmas laugh, check out this blog post from what is probably one of the strangest but funniest Mormon blogs out there:

1 comment:

  1. That's a great insight. It's so hard to have that patience sometimes. The thought of me living my whole life with SSA drives me crazy. But I probably will always live with it to some degree. Hopefully time will heal and perseverance will bring forth fruit and these feelings will diminish. Whatever happens I just have to keep going with faith that things will work out the way God has planned.


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