When the air turns crisp and the snow crunches under my feet, I know that the Christmas season is nearly upon us. Colored lights, sparkling with the outward excitement of the season, frame the features of the homes of our friends and neighbors and extend the shortening daylight hours. The light of Christ seems to universally sparkle within each of us, too, as we become active participants in the 2,000-year-old promise from above: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14.)
Christmas is a time of dreaming about yet-unfulfilled wishes. Through the years we unwittingly reveal those wishes by secretly asking a red-suited “jolly old elf” for Christmas surprises: a stocking full of candy and toys for the four-year-old, a dazzling doll for the six-year-old, the latest electronic game for the twelve-year-old, the newest fashions for the sixteen-year-old.
Over the years, Christmas dreams of sugarplums dancing in our heads change to dreams of homes towering in our neighborhoods, full stockings change to full bank accounts, fancy dolls and fashion desires change to recognition and position in society. Our toys just get bigger and bigger.
But sometimes after the glitter is gone, ambition mellows and our dreams take on a more realistic hue. Like gray winter fog, discouragement creeps out from the news on TV, from the neighbor across the street, and from the fighting children in our own humble home.
As the experiences of an ever-increasing number of Christmases past change our view of Christmases present and future, we long for the elusive but common ingredient of each past dream and each past gift. We wish for one new gift: the gift of peace for us, our families, our loved ones, our neighbors, and the world. It was in fact the gift of peace that was promised by the angels on that first Christmas night. From him who was born the Prince of Peace, we receive a great gift: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)
He is the only source of peace—his birth was announced as the gift of peace; his life brought us the gospel of peace; his death made him the founder and father of peace for each of us.
As his birth heralded peace on earth, our spiritual rebirth in him is the path to that peace in our own lives. It is when our hearts are changed through faith in him that we are reborn. That change comes only when we are willing to become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict” upon us. (Mosiah 3:19.)
The gift will be offered only if we “let no pride nor haughtiness disturb [our] peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself.” (Mosiah 27:4.) We will find neither rebirth nor peace until we reach out with our hearts and “above all things, clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” (D&C 88:125.)
When we finally decide that what we really want is what he wants, when we relinquish our pride and submit to his will, peace comes.