Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Gift of Christ

Our Savior Jesus Christ truly is an amazing gift to each of us. Through His birth, life, death, and resurrection we are given the ability to change. How grateful I am for that gift, that chance to rid myself of imperfections and sins and to press forward striving to leave them behind forever. In my own imperfect way I try to understand and utilize the Savior's gift to me by building my faith in Him and striving to repent of my sins so that I can be more like He is. I know that I am imperfect and that it takes all my strength to make a feeble attempt to live as He lived and to love as He loved. How sad is it then when others won't even let Christ influence their lives or when you find those who only pretend that they follow the Savior.

A Season of Giving

This time of the year is an excellent time for gifts and for giving, so I am going to create an analogy that might help us to use Christ's gift to us more fully. Imagine for a moment that when Christmas rolls around that you find a present under your tree, it is clearly marked for you and is wrapped beautifully. What do you do with it? Do you open it? Do you use it? Or do you let it sit and gather dust under the tree? Those are a few of the options that we have when it comes to Christ's gift to us. We all have received the gift of the Atonement of Christ, we have it somewhere and we all have the chance to use it. I want to discuss three general groups and how they use and benefit from the gift of Christ's sacrifice.

1. You will see many good people that have used it over and over again, the wrapping and ribbons are long forgotten as the gift Christ gave to them became a part of everyday life. These will have tough hands and sturdy backs from doing the work of the Lord as they strive to share the gift that He gave them with all around them. These would be the wise men that Christ says hear His sayings and doeth them (Matthew 7:24-25). May we all strive to use the the gift of Christ in the way that these do, sharing it with others and seeing the blessings multiplied in our own lives.

2. You will see others who opened the gift just enough to see what was inside and decided that they didn't really have much use for it. Those people my wonder why they don't seem to have all that they seek in life, or why their hopes and dreams are not fulfilled as they would like, maybe they don't understand that a gift sitting on a shelf or only pulled out in times of great need is a gift hardly accepted. These could be likened to the foolish men of whom Christ said would hear His sayings, but do them not (Matthew 7:26-27).

3. The third group are those who read the tag and see that the gift is from Christ and don't even bother opening it, instead they go about telling and showing everyone that they come in contact with that Jesus loves them more then anyone else, or that they are special because they received a gift from Him. They are so busy worrying about whether everyone knows that Christ cared enough to send them a gift that they never open it and actually use it. These would be likened unto the hypocrites that do things in public that "they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward" (Matthew 6:2). Those who flaunt the gift of Christ's Atonement without actually using it are those who will find themselves discontented with life even when all else seems to be going their way. 

Which one am I? 

Which group do we fit into? Are we those who use and share the gift that Christ has given us? Are we the ones who pull it out in times of great need as a final resort? Or are we those who always try to show off and be in the public eye as one blessed of God, when in reality we have ignored the gift He gave being too preoccupied with the wrappings and ribbons and beauty of its appearance. I think that we all go through phases of each group, but I know that as I have tried to put Christ first and to not worry about what those around me think, I have found peace to my soul. There will always be those times when we know we aren't at the best that we can be, but as we press forward, we can eventually bring ourselves into the position to always be using and sharing the gift that Christ gave to us. I know that He lives, I know that He loves us and wants us to use the gift that He gave, I know that using His gift brings peace and joy. How grateful I am for Him this Christmas Season. In His name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Nativity