Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas is about Receiving

Today in church I had a wonderfully spiritual experience. With the beautiful music of the choir behind me I began to look at the worshipful faces of a congregation of people that I love with all of my heart. I saw a lady who was battling a serious case of cancer huddled with her husband and three little girls singing a hymn. A few rows back I saw a man in a sling whose shoulder had been replaced a few days earlier, in obvious pain, but who came to church anyway to worship his Savior and watch his wife and son sing in the choir. Sitting next to me was a brother who lost his job, blew out his knee, had reconstructive surgery on that knee and then had a sinus surgery all in one month. I saw a man sitting alone in the back whose wife has endured five back surgeries in the last two years. I saw a couple whose beautiful little daughter was just diagnosed with a rare brain disorder holding their precious little girl in the back. I saw a few people who had recently lost their parents to death, I saw people who had lost there job, I saw people who I know are worried about a wayward child. I saw people who were lonely and widowed, I saw people who had been betrayed and abandoned, I saw a couple cry their way through silent night who had just lost a baby the week before. I also saw a congregation full of sinners, which definitely included myself. As my eyes moved from face to face I saw something in each of their eyes, it was hope, it was conviction, and most of all it was love.  They truly loved their Savior.

I began to feel a deep gratitude for my Savior and I began to ponder the gifts His life extended to each of those lovely people in the congregation who sang of His birth with worshipful love in their eyes.

I pondered how His atonement allowed all of us sinners to repent and move on from our mistakes with the promise that He would remember our sins no more. What an incredible gift!

I pondered His resurrection and how it made it possible for each of us to rise again with perfect glorious bodies never to hurt again, never to die again, never to say goodbye again. Someday we will never again have to look upon a suffering loved one desiring to do anything to take away their pain. We will never have to stand over a casket full of sorrow.  His resurrection allows us to look forward to what will be instead of asking what could have been. What an incredible gift!

I pondered how he has promised a mansion in heaven, where the beauty will surpass anything we have ever seen felt or heard. How wonderful will that be to those who struggle financially in this life.  What an incredible gift!

I pondered the lonely and in my minds eye saw them surrounded by numberless concourses of their own family, receiving all of the promises that they had hoped for on earth but for some reason known to God had to wait until heaven to obtain. What an incredible gift that will be!

Some say Christmas is about giving, not receiving...Well I respectfully disagree. I feel that Christmas is mostly about receiving...not the gifts that come from a store, but the gift of gifts.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Will we receive that gift?

I love my Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for the gift of His Son. As awesome as this Christmas Season can be, the worldly gifts of Christmas, the anticipation of which used to keep me up all night as boy, pale in comparison to what we have to look forward to if we will receive the gift of the Savior into our lives. Let Earth Receive Her King!


  1. Thank you for this beautiful reminder! Have a Merry Christmas:)

  2. I too saw something similar today. Most of the time I avoid looking into people's eyes when I am up there singing. I focus on the christen and my music. Today, I not only looked, I saw. I saw the love of my Savior shining from each pair of eyes I looked into. Love, hope and charity was abound in our meeting today and I am so grateful to be a part of our ward family!

  3. Shad,
    Beautifully said, thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  4. This offers some profound perspective to the holidays. Thank you for you thoughts, I will cherish them!

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