Wednesday, December 20, 2006

As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

One day as we were driving over the backroads to the KMTC, a flock of sheep was crossing the road. It made me think of the days when Jesus was born. It made me think of the shepherds that were in the fields by night, keeping watch over their sheep. It made me think of the angel of the Lord appearing to them, announcing the birth of the Savior. It made me feel grateful to be here and to have seen that flock of sheep crossing the road. It made me remember what Christmas is really all about. It’s about the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

I thought of Mary and Joseph making their way across a land that probably looks very much like it does here. I thought of how uncomfortable it must have been for Mary walking or riding such a long distance. I thought of them trying to find lodging in mud brick inns that probably looked very much like the mud brick buildings I see here everyday and how austere they probably were. I thought of so many things but I wondered what kind of gift I would have brought to that stable to honor the birth of the Savior.

I then thought of something that one of our brethren said at Sacrament Meeting one night. He said that the only real gift we can give our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is the gift of our will. Meaning, that when we turn ourselves over to Them, when we follow the commandments and do everything in our power to honor Them, that is the one gift we can truly give Them. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the commandments, to do what’s right, but in doing those things, it causes us to focus on our Heavenly Father and all that he asks us to do. Believe me, I know it can be hard. Sometimes I struggle every day to do what’s right, but when I do, I feel so much joy, happiness and gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the blessings He’s given me that it makes keeping the commandments just a little easier. I hope this makes sense.

And so at this Christmas season, I’m grateful for that flock of sheep. I’m grateful that it reminded me what that first Christmas must have been like. I’m glad that I’ve been able to think more about the Savior and what it was like for him living in this kind of environment. I’m glad that I haven’t been distracted by the commercial aspect of Christmas. I only hope that the thoughts and feelings I’ve had this Christmas will stay with me over the coming years.

And I hope that you too have caught and will keep the true meaning of Christmas all year long.

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