My heart is full. My heart is full because of something I know to be true – something of which I was reminded this Christmas morning as I engaged in my morning prayers. This truth is timeless, often elusive, but ultimately all-powerful. It is the key to the world – even to the universe. Ignoring this timeless truth will result in the destruction of the world. Embracing it will be the means of its salvation.
I speak, of course, of love. When the angel appeared to the shepherds in the field, as described in the second chapter of Luke, it said, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”. What were the good tidings of great joy of which the angel spoke? Obviously, the angel was referring to the birth of Jesus Christ – the Savior of the world, but this birth would mean nothing without His life.
The good news truly began to be revealed in the discourse commonly referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount”, which we first read of in Matthew, Chapters 5-7. In this sermon, Jesus Christ presented for the first time in the scriptures His revolutionary doctrine. Principles such as “turn the other cheek”, “judge not”, “blessed are the meek…” etc. were completely contradictory to the common wisdom of the day. Today, they remain revolutionary in that they contradict – perhaps even more starkly – the common wisdom of our day. Acceptance of these teachings when they were first presented by the Savior required great faith. Adopting these principles into one’s life required a revolutionary heart – one that could truly feel the truth that was being taught, because the truth could not easily be discerned by observing the world.
The same is true today. This same good news, these same revolutionary principles hold equal power today to what they held when the angel announced the Savior’s birth, and when Christ taught them on the mount. They hold the same power that they held when He hung upon the cross and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
This is what fills my heart on this Christmas Day, December 25, 2013. I am blessed with the knowledge that love, as so beautifully summarized in the recorded teachings of Jesus Christ, will ultimately fill the universe with light. I know this because it first fills my heart with light. I don’t care where you live, what religion you espouse, or of what political persuasion you may be. These are most often things that divide us. One of Christ’s most profound teachings came during His great intercessory prayer, offered in the upper room just before he went to the Garden of Gethsemane. In John 17:21 he prayed “…That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”. As he faced the imminent trials of Gethsemane and Golgotha, his prayer was that we might be one with the Father, one with Him and one with each other. His prayer was that the world might know that He had been sent by our Heavenly Father – our creator – and thus that His (Christ’s) message, carried in word and in deed, came from Him (the Father), and therefore represents a priceless gift lovingly delivered by a messenger highly cherished and painfully sacrifice – His only begotten son.
Christ taught – through His perfect life -one simple message; Love God by loving others. We all face challenges in our lives. These challenges are different for every person. They can be physical, mental, emotional or, most of the time, all of the above. They can be profoundly visible to all, or they can be deeply buried beneath a fortress of stone. These challenges can only be put in their eternal perspective, and then be overcome, if we accept Christ’s message that love is the ultimate power in the universe – that all else is an anomaly, and is there for one purpose and one purpose only – to provide the opposition required that we might choose to love.
As charity, the pure love of Christ (Moroni 7:47), is the key to overcoming our individual challenges, so it is the key to overcoming the challenges of the world. The key issues of our day – abortion, wars, individual rights and freedoms – all melt into insignificance in light of the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we all chose to fill our hearts with the pure love of Christ; selfishness, fear, jealousy, and hatred would all be overcome. If we all would simply “choose the right”, all would be right in the world. We would be at harmony with each other and with the universe, because love is the ultimate power that binds the universe. I believe human suffering, even that caused by nature, would disappear, and we would have a Zion society – one inhabited by the pure in heart, where there are no poor among them.
My friends, we have the power within us. Christ not only taught us the way, He showed us the way. I know this to be true. I know it to be true because this is what fills my heart so joyfully on this Christmas Day, December 25, 2013.
God Bless us every one!