I don't know about you, but Christmas has got to be my favorite time of year, no question. I love the lights and the delicious food and the music and the pretty snow outside. Everyone is so loving and generous. My family has quite a few traditions that happen around this time, and, of course, one of the best ones is that on Christmas Eve we sit by the tree and my dad reads the Christmas story in Luke 2 about the birth of the Savior.
Each time that this time of year rolls around, I can't help wondering why we can't be like that all year round. Not the lights, presents, and eating our weight in sugar cookies part, but the part where we remember the birth of our Savior and the great joy and hope that comes with it.
I'm sure you already know the story, or are at least familiar with it, so I'll just brush over any basic details. Let's begin with the story of Zacharias. He is married to Elisabeth, and they are getting old and have never been able to have children. Zacharias is at the temple and an angel appears to him. Cue Luke 1:13 "But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John." Just as a reminder, this little baby will grow up to be John the Baptist. Do you think it's possible that Zacharias was praying at this exact moment for a little baby boy? Maybe, we don't really know. Do you think he expected it to happen at this point? I highly doubt it. He and his wife were getting old. Nevertheless, the angel said that his prayers were heard. I'm sure there were many times when he went to the temple to pray for a child.
Well, why did the Lord wait until now for this miracle? I'm guessing you've heard the phrase "Thy will be done." The Lord has a specific plan for each of us with great things in store, but one of the aspects of that statement that I'm still learning to appreciate is "Thy timing be done." Not just what, but also when. It's a tricky thing to learn, trust me. But it's part of having faith. And nothing feels better than knowing that you're heading in the right direction and when things turn out so much better than what you had originally planned for yourself. Just hold out a little longer.
So this introduces us to John the Baptist. About six months later, Mary is visited by an angel and told that she will be the mother of the Son of God. I must say, I can't begin to imagine what it would feel like to have that responsibility. I can't help wondering if she knew the prophecies that had been made about her and the Savior's birth. Just the thought of knowing that a prophecy in the scriptures was specifically about you seems like such an overwhelming, yet glorious thought. What an example.
Now, Mary is pregnant, and she and Joseph go up to Nazareth to be accounted for in the census and then taxed. They went into Bethlehem, which means "house of bread." How fitting that the Savior, the bread of life, would be born in the house of bread. Simple, yet profound. I love that.
Finally, one last thought. I've come up with a new motto of sorts. Both Zacharias and Mary questioned the angel how their respective miracles were going to come to pass. The angel gives us one of my new favorite scriptures, Luke 1:37, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." Folks, I believe that statement. Your Heavenly Father is a God of miracles, both large and small, public and personal. What miracles the Almighty will have in store when you rely on His will and timing. What a miracle that sweet little baby Jesus was, a baby that would grow up to be your Redeemer not just on Christmas, but everyday, every season, and every moment of the year.
Last thing. I love music. Especially Christmas music. And I may or may not have been listening to some whilst writing this Christmas post in September. But my most favorite Christmas song is called "Angels from the Realms of Glory," from which this post's title comes. This particular version I'm sharing with you is the words of "Angels from the Realms of Glory" to the tune of "Angels We Have Heard On High," arranged by Mack Wilberg and performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brian Stokes Mitchell. You can say it's a little out of season if you want, but this song and its message is beautiful anytime of the year. It gives me goose bumps every time without fail. Trust me, it's worth the four minutes and forty-nine seconds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve21Z5uaNqc
Never forget that at this point in time, though we may view Him as an infant, He shall fill His Father's throne. Don't forget to enjoy the "spirit of Christmas," the timeless love of Christ.