Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Light of Christ

During the Christmas season, we commemorate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is interesting that one of the symbols we use in our celebration are Christmas Lights. Each of these tiny lights, can help us to remember Jesus, who is the Light of the World.

In my latest talk, I was asked to speak on the Light of Christ. Here are some exerpts from my talk. You can read the full version here.

A Gift to All Mankind

In the Doctrine and Covenants we read:
46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. (D&C 84:46-47)
There is a lot of meaning is packed into these two verses:

1. The Light of Christ is given to every person that comes into the world.
It does not matter what their race, religion, wealth, or social class may be. It doesn’t matter if they live in a free country, or a country dominated by avowed atheist dictators. It eveb doesn’t matter what they believe. The light of Christ is given to all of God’s Children, everywhere on earth. This gift has been given to all mankind from the time of the Garden of Eden, down to our present time, and will continue as long as the earth shall stand. There has never been a time on the face of the earth, when the light of Christ was not present. The Light of Christ still remained present, even during the deepest, darkest times of apostasy, when the fullness of the Gospel was not found on the earth. God has never abandoned his Children on this earth, at any time. His light has ever shone forth.

The Light of Christ existed before we were born, and it will be with us for every moment of our lives, and it will continue after we have died. It is ever there.

2. Those who hearken (which means to listen, and to obey) to the light of Christ will be enlightened.
Inspiration and enlightenment comes to all those who will listen to the light of Christ. This enlightenment can come in many forms. It can come to the inventor, the scientist, the painter, the sculptor, the composer, the performer, the architect, and the author. The result of this enlightenment can produce great, and even inspired things for the blessing and good of all mankind.

Think of the advancements in science, medicine, communications, technology, and transportation that have come about in the last 100 years. Think of the great writers, composers, and artists who have been inspired by the Light of Christ to lift and inspire mankind to the glory of God. Think of the religious reformers who prepared the way for the restoration of the gospel. All of these have been inspired by the Light of Christ.

3. Those who continue to hearken to the Light of Christ, will be led back to our Heavenly Father.

As a person continues to listen and obey the Light of Christ, they will eventually be led back to the presence of the Father.

Think of 14-year-old Joseph Smith, who hearkened to the voice of the Spirit as he became interested in religion, and desired to know the will of God concerning which church to join. Remember as he was studying the scriptures how he was not only influence by the Light of Christ, but by his obedience to the light which he had already received, he was then moved upon by the power of the Holy Ghost – which in turn led him to the Sacred Grove where he would receive his miraculous First Vision. There he would behold the presence of God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, and was given the answers to his questions, and was further instructed by them.

The Light of Christ, is also known as the Spirit of Truth. Those who seek after that spirit, and cling to the truths that they learn, will eventually be led back to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Truth Vs. Error

The Light of Christ is not only given to us for enlightenment, and to draw us toward the Savior; but also is given to us to discern right from wrong.

Sometimes this manifestation of the Light of Christ is called a moral sense, or our conscience, The Light of Christ will always direct us to make good choices, and to avoid evil, unless we subdue it, or silence it.

Each person enters mortality to obtain a physical body, and to be tested. We are taught in that in order to be tested, there must be an opposition in the choices that we make. On the one hand we have the Light of Christ, which inspires us to do good; and on the other hand we have Satan and his followers, which tempt us to do evil. These two forces are set in opposition to one another. We are in the middle, between these to forces tugging at us in opposite directions. We have been given our moral agency are free to choose for ourselves which course we will follow.

Can We Lose The Light of Christ?

If you were to close your eyes on a bright, sun-shiny day, you would not see the light. The sun, however, continues to shine, as always. The only reason you cannot see it is that you have closed your eyes; and by so doing, you have shut down your ability to perceive it.

The same is true with the Light of Christ. We couldn’t hide ourselves from the Light of Christ – even if we wanted to! We can, however choose to ignore what we see, or cloud our spiritual eyes and minds so much with disobedience and wickedness that we can no longer perceive the light.

A Spark In The Dark

Perhaps you know someone who has fallen into this condition of spiritual blindness. Perhaps it may even happened to you or me. It happens, even to the best of us, if we are not careful. We can lose the light we once had, and can fall into sin and transgression.

What if that has happened to you, or to someone you know. Be assured that the Light is still there. There is no depth so low, no darkness so deep that cannot be penetrated by the Light of Christ. God will never abandon us, no matter how far we may have fallen. The light, and life of his love is ever there. His arms are stretched out still. There is none that he will turn away, if we will but come unto him.

Those whose minds have become sufficiently darkened may find it hard to believe in Christ, and that he is trying to reach each one of us.

In a recent Ensign article, Elder Boyd K Packer gives the following example:
“Man himself, with all his limitations, can convey messages through fiber-optic cables. A single tiny fiber of glass, smaller than a human hair, can carry 40,000 messages at the same time. These can then be decoded and turned into sight and sound and color, even motion. Man can do that.

A laser beam, where there is no wire or fiber at all, can carry 100 billion bits of information in a second.

If man can do that, why should we marvel at the promise that the Light of Christ is in all of us and that the Holy Ghost can visit any of us?
It should not be difficult, therefore, to understand how revelation from God to His children on earth can come to all mankind through both the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Light of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2005, 8)
Even in our darkest hour, when we may feel so unworthy, and so unwanted – know that our Savior, and his light are still there for you. It is Satan, and not Christ that tells you that you are worthless, unwanted, and unredeemable. Do not listen to him. Believe in Christ, that he is, and that he can save you.

Know that his power is great. For he is mighty to save. He has taken upon him the sins and pains of the whole world. He has suffered these things for all -- that they might not suffer. He has broken the terrible bonds of death – that we may all live once more. He has triumphed over all things. And though each of us are weak and lowly, still, because of his love for us, he desires to draw all men unto him, that he may lift them up, and return them to the presence of the Father. And for this, all he asks is that we follow Him, and keep his commandments.

Conclusion

During this season of gift giving, let us remember the that the greatest Christmas gift ever given was when the Father sent his Only Begotten Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. In return, the greatest gift that we can ever give is to love and serve God, and our fellow-men – the two great commandments, walking in holiness before him. May we show our gratitude to our Heavenly Father by giving him our gifts of love and service during this Christmas season.

3 comments:

Kimberly said...

Oh that is beautiful David. I have been thinking so much of the light of Christ lately. You said that so well thank you!

Marti said...

Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.

Peace and joy to you!

May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

Sarebear said...

I plan on a more in-depth comment because this has been much on my mind, of late (the last 6 months or so). I'm just commented out, at the moment. But this is VERY helpful to me. Thank you, and I'll be Bach!