Just a quick Christmas message. I was thinking recently about how the best and worst times in life are often inseparably intertwined. We are in the midst of a yearlong lockdown, which has led to a lot of suffering that will likely get worse. But despite this, I’ve been able to see many miracles and blessings through these challenges.
Toil and Sorrow Create Amazing Results
As we celebrate a most unusual Christmas, let’s remember that Jesus Christ’s birth was the lowest point for Joseph and Mary, but the highest for angels, shepherds, and wise men. It led to the slaughter of every baby 2 years old and under in and around Bethlehem, but the salvation of all mankind from Adam on down. And that pattern continued all through the Savior’s life.
Peter and his fellow fishermen didn’t catch a single fish after a whole night of casting their nets into the water. That all changed when Christ came and told them to cast their nets on the other side of the ship. They obeyed, and the result was too many fish in their nets to pull them in without help.
The Transformative Nature of Miracles
Christ’s miraculous healings turned grief into joy time after time. There was the little girl who died and was brought back to life by Christ, much to her parents’ joy. The woman who had an issue of blood for years was healed in an instant when she touched the hem of Christ’s garment.
Jesus Himself wept with the people who mourned the death of Lazarus, even though He knew He had the power to raise him from the dead. That demonstrated that He is not above our very human emotions, and He empathizes with our plight. He was able to transform their sorrow into joy when He called Lazarus forth from the tomb, and he returned to life.
Not every miracle is as obviously impressive as a physical healing. The miracle of God’s forgiveness, though unseen, is more powerful than any earthly gift. Think of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and condemned by wicked men to death by stoning. Christ told them that he who is without sin among them should cast the first stone at her, knowing He was the only one who met that criteria. Pricked by their consciences, they all left, and Christ forgave her and encouraged her to be better from that point on. Her highest moment was reached right after her lowest.
The Ultimate High and Low Point
The Atonement the night before the crucifixion saved us while bringing Christ to His lowest point. He was then lifted up, not on a throne but on a cross. He was crowned king, not with a golden crown but one made of thorns. The sting of death was swallowed up by the resurrection. Because He descended below all things, He won the right to lift all of us to His level if we are willing to take up our cross and follow Him.
Ironically, as we take on more burdens striving to be Christlike, we find that our burdens feel lighter all the time. Resisting evil yields eternal rewards while indulgence results in regret and less self-control.
It might seem hard or even painful to give up drugs and other vices, but think of how free a clean person lives compared to an addict. Turning the other cheek when an enemy smites us is painful and humiliating in the moment, but it often turns enemies into friends in the long run. Consider someone who avoids pornography and premarital sex. Can you imagine a better gift to a spouse than one’s personal purity and fidelity? That’s the recipe for a successful marriage, while taking the more seductive path is fraught with peril.
Help Is Always Available
If you are being crushed by burdens too heavy for you to lift, remember the One who was crushed by the sins and pains of the whole world. Humbly ask Him for help, and He will answer. He already knows what we all need, and He is willing to help us through everything we face. All we have to do is ask in faith. I hope that we will all be able to turn our lowest lows into our highest highs by simply turning to the One who is over it all.
This is the Deja Reviewer wishing you a Merry Christmas!
Want to Support the Deja Reviewer?
If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.