The Reason for the Season

Dear Will:

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season.  We’re going nuts at our house: No matter what kind of commitments we make to each other prior to December, once Thanksgiving is over we find a way to overload ourselves anyway.  It’s fun, but hectic.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the rush that we don’t take the time to savor the good part.  I know we always enjoy the season most when we take some time to consider what it’s really all about.

Something I read recently by our prophet Gordon B. Hinckley really made me pause and consider the real “reason for the season.”  Let me share it with you:

Declared the prophet Isaiah:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: . . .

“. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4–5).

This is the wondrous and true story of Christmas. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea is preface. The three-year ministry of the Master is prologue. The magnificent substance of the story is His sacrifice, the totally selfless act of dying in pain on the cross of Calvary to atone for the sins of all of us.

The epilogue is the miracle of the Resurrection, bringing the assurance that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.  (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 2000, 2)

We’re lucky, I think, to have Christmas fall on a Monday this year, because for me it adds some extra poignancy to our worship services to be gathered together on Christmas Eve.  If you have the time and want an excuse to break away from the hectic stuff so that you can enjoy the real spirit of Christmas, I invite you to join us on Sunday for our special Christmas service.  There will be multiple musical numbers from our excellent choir, a solo or two, some harp music and other stuff I can’t remember.  There will also be a special narration written especially for the occasion.  I really believe it will be a powerful meeting that you will enjoy.

Anyway, it starts at 1 p.m. and will run around 90 minutes.  We’d love to have you join us.

May God bless you and yours throughout these holiday and beyond.

PW

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