The Light and the Life of the World

23 Dec

Because of the winter solstice, December is the darkest month for the Northern Hemisphere. 2 days ago was the longest night of the year. And in 2 days we’ll be observing Christmas, a celebration of the coming of the “light and life of the world” (John 8: 12).

Approximately 2010 years ago, a baby was born in Bethlehem. The information about his birth is surprisingly scant, for all the talk. One little line: “…because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 7) has brought forth volumes of speculation and contemplation. We know so little of the life of Jesus Christ. Our records were written after the fact, by men who weren’t present and must have heard the accounts secondhand. How can we know for ourselves that Jesus Christ is the Savior, that he was anything more than a baby in Bethlehem?

photo courtesy of "midiman" @ flickr.com

Robert Blatchford claimed to have the answers. His anti-Christian book “proved everything [he] set out to prove so fully and decisively that no Christian, however great or able he may be, can answer [his] arguments or shake [his] case” (God and My Neighbor 1914). But after the death of his wife, Blatchford experienced a change of heart. His new opinion was that “Death is not what some people imagine. It is only like going into another room. In that other room we shall find … the dear women and men and the sweet children we have loved and lost” (More Things in Heaven and Earth, quoted in the May 2007 Ensign).

When we pay attention, we can feel the miracle of Christ’s birth for ourselves. We can sense the far-reaching effects of his matchless life and his supernal sacrifice. We can enjoy the peace that comes from remembering his words: “I am the light and the life of the world.”

I know. For me, the life of Jesus Christ was so long ago, and the accounts are so wild, that it is hard to accept as fact. But I have to accept what I feel. Beyond emotion, beyond the stirring of simple chemical reactions within me, I feel the truth. I sense the miracle. I know that Jesus Christ was born, the literal son of God in the flesh, and that he came to earth to fulfill the Father’s plan. I know that his miraculous birth makes my eternal life possible.

I hope at this Christmas season that you may feel the magic, beyond Santa Claus and beyond simply seasonal generosity. I hope that you can sense the meaning of the birth of a baby in Bethlehem 2010 years ago.

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