“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” (John 3:16).

Baby JesusThe Church is inviting us all—Church members and everyone else—to participate in its worldwide Christmas initiative, titled “He Is the Gift” (John 3:16) at Christmas.mormon.org. The initiative consists of a website and a video, less than three minutes long, translated into 20 languages. You can participate by viewing and sharing the video at Christmas.mormon.org. By using the hashtag #ShareTheGift when you share it, you can help “share the gift” of Christ at this wonderful season. This outstanding, touching video invites each of us to “discover the gift, embrace the gift, and share the gift” of Christ.

DISCOVER THE GIFT: “Seek this Jesus with all your heart.”

“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).

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Women serving in humanitarian programThese scriptures, others like them, and our life experiences teach us that our search for Christ comes at a very high cost; i.e., “all [our] heart.” If our search is to be successful, it can’t be casual, and it can’t be done “on the cheap.” Like the great quests and journeys of literature and scripture, our personal and collective quest in search of Christ is a high adventure—of the heart, primarily. As we grow by serving and loving others, we traverse the mountains, valleys, deserts, and oceans of our own strengths and weaknesses:

“If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, them will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

EMBRACE THE GIFT: “I am encircled in the arms of his love.”

“Behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15).

“If ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I ye shall be also” (D&C 132:23).

Jesus in GethsemaneIn Gethsemane and on Calvary, Christ embraced us fully and intimately by taking upon himself our sins and, indeed, our whole identities: “I am crucified with Christ,” says Paul. “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who love me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2: 20). Through the atonement, laws, and ordinances, Paul is able to fully embrace Christ, to the extent that “Christ liveth in me.” “Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed” (Romans 6:6). “I have graven thee [i.e., not just our sins, sicknesses, and sorrows] upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).

Because Christ has so fully and intimately embraced us by taking upon himself our identity, he invites us to fully and intimately embrace him by taking upon ourselves his identity and becoming the adopted, covenant “children of Christ,” “his sons and his daughters,” “his seed” (Mosiah 5:7; 15:10–13). Through his atonement and our obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see A of F 1:3), we receive and embrace Christ and take upon ourselves his name, Spirit, power, love, knowledge, joy, etc., and share in his identity.

We come to know Christ, day by day, and ultimately we can receive our exaltation and be with him eternally: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Revelations 3:21). “He makes them equal . . . The saints shall be filled with [Christ’s] glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him” (D&C 76:95; 88:107).

SHARE THE GIFT: “Declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump.”

“Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in” (Mosiah 18:9).

“At all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men” (D&C 24:12).

Mostly for Mormons

Mostly for Mormons
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Which brings us to today and to this Christmas season and our opportunity to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things,” “both day and night,” as we #ShareTheGift through the “He Is the Gift” video. Our sharing of the Gift of Jesus Christ—at any season—is both the strong, triumphant “voice of a trump” and the quiet, gentle breath of a Lamb.

 

 

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