Come Unto Christ This Christmas Season
Contributed By Sister Carol F. McConkie, Young Women general presidency
Christmas is a wonderful time to study, ponder, and pray about the Mutual theme for 2014: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God” (Moroni 10:32).
The faithful Saints in the story of our Savior’s birth chose to come unto Christ. They trusted the words of the prophets. They knew that “redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:6). And so they waited and anticipated His coming. They made choices that prepared them to worthily receive the Messiah who was the Savior of the world. And they became His witnesses.
We think of Mary, “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (1 Nephi 11:15) who had “found favour with God” (Luke 1:30). She was “precious and chosen” (Alma 7:10). Her purity, obedience and love for God qualified her to fulfill her divine role as the “the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh” (1 Nephi 11:18).
We imagine the shepherds diligently fulfilling their duties in the field, “keeping watch over their sheep by night.” They kept the commandments and were prepared to receive an angel of the Lord who told them the “good tidings of great joy.” “For unto you is born this day ... a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” When they heard the divine message, they responded immediately. They did not delay. “They came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” And when they had seen the Savior, the scripture says, “they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” (See Luke 1, 2.)
We read about the wise men. They were men of God who studied the words of the prophets. They knew the signs of the birth of the Savior, “he that is born King of the Jews.” When they saw “his star in the east” they came seeking him to worship Him. (See Matthew 2).
Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men and other Saints in the meridian of time are examples of men and women of faith in all ages. We also know that we must come unto Christ, for “salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17). So we sincerely repent. We plead for mercy that He will apply the cleansing and healing power of the Atonement in our lives so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, so that our hearts may be purified. We covenant to love God, to serve Him and to keep His commandments. We strive to be worthy of the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost.
Consider five simple ways we may continually come unto Christ:
1. Pray every day, morning and night.
Jesus showed us that we must pray. He said, “… always pray unto the Father in my name; and whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:19-20).
2. Study the scriptures every day.
“Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3). The scriptures lead us to Christ.
3. Partake of the ordinance of the sacrament worthily every week.
The sacrament is an ordinance of forgiveness if we covenant to remember the Savior’s atoning sacrifice and keep His commandments. We remember that Christ suffered for our sins, so that we may be perfectly clean, if we will repent. Weekly, we renew our baptismal covenants and go forward in faith.
4. Serve others every day.
“ ‘Love thy neighbor’ ... is a pattern for perfection. ... ‘Go forth to serve.’ ... We cannot escape the influence our lives have upon the lives of others. Ours is the opportunity to build, to lift, to inspire, and indeed to lead” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Joy of Service,” New Era, Oct. 2009). Stand as witnesses of Christ.
5. Live worthily of a temple recommend.
“Always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—A Beacon to the World,” Ensign, May 2011). We come unto Christ through the doors of His holy house.
Come unto Christ. Was there ever a more glorious call to action? At this Christmas season, come adore Him, come worship Him, and come follow Him. Receive the blessings of His love. As faithful Saints of the Lord Jesus Christ, we may come unto Christ and feel His peace and know His perfecting power.