I recently read a tagline on my news feed intended to entice readers to open and read more. It said, “Is there anything more beautiful at Christmas than a white reindeer?” I didn’t click on the link because I disagreed (which is not to say a white reindeer, which is incredibly rare, is not a beautiful sight).
And, however embellished such a claim may be, to make such an assertion at Christmas perhaps suggests how far afield we have gone from the intended purpose of Christmas. Especially now, in an increasingly secular world, we desperately need the gospel of Jesus Christ, and individuals willing to follow His example of love, peace, compassion, and charity toward others.
Beautiful to me is a simple, sublime crèche that reminds me of the birth of the Son of God and Redeemer of the world. Beautiful is Christmas music that testifies of Jesus Christ’s divinity, praises His birth, life, and sacrifice for each of us. Beautiful is pondering scriptures that affirm His birth, ministry, and doctrine.
Imagine a world focused not only on the Savior at Christmastime but all year long — where Christ’s doctrine is not only studied but acted upon, where we see one another as siblings in God’s family and treat one another as Christ taught and exemplified.
Jesus Christ epitomized love. When asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said, … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV). Jesus charged, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
Jesus Christ preached peace, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). He disdained actions hostile to peace, “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine … but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away” (3 Nephi 11:29-30). He counseled us, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV).
Christ empathized with others and acted compassionately, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14 KJV). Jesus “comfort(s) us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). The Savior commands, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep,” asking us, “whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (Romans 12:15; 1 John 3:17).
Jesus promised blessings and pleaded with us to do charity, “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke, … to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? … And if thou … satisfy the afflicted soul … the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, … and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:6-7, 10-11).
Our Savior asked that we serve Him by serving others, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:35-40).
Nothing is more beautiful at Christmastime than focusing on Jesus Christ, remembering His birth, studying and learning of Him, and “doing” His gospel.
Lead image from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ sitting with a young child while teaching that we must “become as little children” in this image from the Bible Videos series.
Kristine Frederickson writes on topics that affect members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide. She teaches part-time at BYU. Her views are her own. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org