Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counsellor in the first presidency The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, wrote, and I quote, ‘To all who wish to understand who we are as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I would like to offer a starting point defined by these three words: We Seek Christ. We seek to learn of Him, to follow Him, to become more like Him. Every day throughout the year, we seek Him. But especially at this time of the year—Christmas when we celebrate the birth of our beloved Saviour—our hearts are ever more inclined to Him’ end quote. (For additional information visit Mormon.Org, Light the World.)
My most favourite time of the year is Christmas. For as long as I can remember the feeling of Christmas has always played upon my imagination and left me in utter amazement.
As a child I would sneak down stairs by myself turn the lights on the Christmas tree and sit there waiting, not for presents but for that feeling which would overtake my senses something which was so special and so indescribable I couldn’t tell anyone, because I couldn’t put these feelings into words. So, I would just sit there looking outside as the frost weaved its majesty upon those old wooden storm windows, gazing in amazement as the light danced upon the snow like a billion glittering diamonds reflecting its light in every direction imaginable. On many occasions the white smoke from the house chimneys on our street would go straight up towards the heavens like an ancient prayer.
As I grew older and studied the holy-scriptures more closely I would try to imagine how shepherds who spent every night out of doors guarding sheep, would have observed the heavens. They didn’t have computers, radios or televisions so they studied nature in its purest form reading the heavens like an open book. Their familiarity with the constellations, galaxies and star clusters would have been common, they knew how to take their bearings by the stars and navigate their travels using the very heavens themselves.
New Testament records the birth of Jesus Christ
“Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are coming to worship him” – Mathew 2: 1-2
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” – Luke: 2:8-11
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” – Luke 2: 13-14
Book of Mormon records the birth of Jesus Christ
And behold, there shall a new star arise, such a one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. – Helaman 14: 5
Let’s now think about this for a moment, many if not all of us have been camping at night. It’s dark, our senses are heightened the only light comes from the stars or the campfire. You hear everything, the fire crackle, branches break, night birds howl, the wind rustling through the trees. You are focused, you are aware of your environment you are there, you are in the moment. I can’t even begin to imagine the pronounced impact the Angels and the Heavenly Hosts had upon these shepherds; it was monumental because it was recorded in the bible.
The Saviour’s mission was foretold, recorded by the prophets, testified of by angels and wise men, recorded in the scriptures and sung to this day in the hymn ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’
A new star was created in the heavens as a witness to the whole world and to all of Fathers creations of the birth of the Saviour, His mission and His sacrifice, no wonder the angels and heavenly hosts sang.
Isn’t it marvellous that the Father of Lights, would honour His Son Jesus the Christ with a new star, and testify to those who were most familiar with the stars the “guardians of sheep?”
The same mission the Saviour came to complete as a guardian of His flock, the children of light.
We can help by doing our part, by honouring the Saviour, by performing small acts of random kindness for those in need, not only on Christmas Day but every day of the year.
Brother Ron Sommerville
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints