The season is upon us. That wondrous time of year when goodness and charity enter the hearts of people throughout the world as the religious throughout the world turn our hearts to charity and love. In the Christian world, the fact that we call the holiday “Christmas” means that no one can ever fully exclude the Son of God from the celebration. It is His birth we commemorate, His life we celebrate, His example we emulate, and in His unfathomable gift we rejoice.
Of course the old familiar carols have been dusted off and shined up for another Christmas. We are so accustomed to them that sometimes we sing them, loving the experience of the music without thinking about the words. I know that has happened to me.
The other day in our worship service, the organist struck up “Away in a Manger.” I started to sing, and this time the words hung in the air and permeated my mind. What was I singing about? Only the most miraculous birth in the history of the world! I peered with the shepherds at the little family of such humble circumstances, but with the glow of eternal glory around them, and I, too, was in awe.The wonder of it struck me and pulled me to that stable. I peered with the shepherds at the little family of such humble circumstances, but with the glow of eternal glory around them, and I, too, was in awe.
In the moments that scene filled, we had come to the third verse, and my heart swelled as I sang the words, realizing that they were not just about the night of His birth; they were about my need for His help every day—the need we all have (for we are children in His sight) for His guidance and intercession.
“Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.”
How can He fit us for heaven? He has answered that question. He can teach us with the words He has given us in scripture. He can prompt us with the inklings that come through the Holy Spirit. He can bind up our wounds and relieve our suffering. He can help us become what we were meant to be. And most of all, He can offer us not only resurrection, but the opportunity to someday be worthy to live in His presence.
However, before He can do any of those things, we have to ask for His help. That is the goodness and charity that we feel this time of year. Our challenge is to cultivate feeling it more often than for just a few weeks in December. We will need it time and again as we wade through mortal life. And, if we really hope to live in that perfect place where He dwells, we have to have faith in Him, to obey the rules that He has given us to live by, to learn to love our fellow beings as the brothers and sisters they truly are. That is the goodness and charity that we feel this time of year. Our challenge is to cultivate feeling it more often than for just a few weeks in December.
How wondrous the gift that truly has the power to fit us for heaven!
We who staff azmormonnews.com pray that you find peace and meaning in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ this season and throughout the year!
Please accept our invitation to join in the Christmas celebration with this download of music performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is offered as a gift by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It includes “Away in a Manger.”