Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night...

There are many Christmas stories, and many that I like. My family always read several on Christmas Eve, and now I read some of those same ones to my children...but today I want to share just one favorite--my very favorite Christmas story.

It's a true story: the story of Christ's birth from the perspective of those who were living in the Americas.
Around 5 BC, a prophet named Samuel had come to warn and teach the people. They had become forgetful of the teachings of the prophets, and were not following the Lord. Samuel told them that within 5 years the Savior would be born in Judea, and that they would know of His coming because a sign would be given: a day and a night and a day with no darkness. Many people believed Samuel and began to follow the commandments, and to look forward to the coming of Christ, but others did not believe, and they harassed the Christians for their belief. I now quote from 3 Nephi 1, with the key parts highlighted if you are only going to skim it [full text here]:
And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.
But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.
And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.
And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.
But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.
Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.
Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, [the current prophet] saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both fof the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.
And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word
Again I am reminded of light as a symbol of our Savior. A bright star, a night as bright as day... I've written here of my struggles with depression, and they are ongoing, but my posts through the holidays have turned my focus away from the darkness and toward the light. I have decided to give myself the whole season (of winter) to ponder and focus on light, so hopefully I will continue to post some of my thoughts over the coming weeks.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, filled with Light and Love!

1 comment:

Becky N. said...

Thank you for taking the time to post that. I was listening to "Thankful" by Josh Groban, which was posted on another blog, while I read the scripture passage.

I just experienced probably the most powerful spiritual feeling I've had this whole Christmas season.

Thank you for taking the time to post it.
Merry Christmas!

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