Would I have been one of them?

As I sit here this Sabbath morning, studying my Scriptures and pondering this Christmas Season, I once again find myself wondering if I would have been one of them…the followers of Christ…if I had been born at that time. I read about the Shepherds in the Christmas story and realize that they must have been spiritually prepared to accept the message that the angel brought. I love how Bruce R McKonkie talks of the Shepherds in his book Mortal Messiah Vol 1:

“In the fields of Bethlehem, not far from Jerusalem and the Temple of Jehovah, there were shepherds watching their flocks by night. These were not ordinary shepherds nor ordinary flocks. The sheep there being herded – nay, not herded, but watched over, cared for with love and devotion – were destined for sacrifice on the great altar in the Lord’s House, in similitude of the eternal sacrifice of Him who that wondrous night lay in a stable, perhaps among sheep of lesser destiny. And the shepherds – for whom the veil was then rent: surely they were in spiritual stature like Simeon and Anna and Zacharias and Elisabeth and Joseph and the growing group of believing souls who were coming to know by revelation, that the Lord’s Christ was now on earth. As there were many widows in Israel, and only to the one in Zarephath was Elijah sent, so there were many shepherds in Palestine, but only to those who watched over the temple flocks did the herald angel come; only they heard the heavely choir. As Luke’s idyllic language has it: And, lo, the angel of The Lord came upon them, and the glory of The Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid….’
“‘Sore afraid!’ – holy fear; the fear of The Lord; the fear felt by Mary and by Zacharias when Gabriel came to each of them from the presence of God; the fear that leads to spiritual progression; the fear that enlarges the soul, as it is written: ‘The glory of The Lord is risen upon thee….and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged.’ (Isa 60:1,5).

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For
unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ The Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall
find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

“His message delivered, the angel…ceased to speak; the shepherds must heed the heavenly voice, find the Savior, and then commence the infinitely great and eternally important work of taking the ‘good tidings of great joy…to all people.’ How they will tell the message to their wives and children! How they will explain it to their neighbors and friends, and even to strangers! How they will gather the people in the courts of the temple, at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice – when the very sheep they had cared for so tenderly are attaining their divine destiny on the holy altar – and tell their fellow Jews what they have heard from heaven!”

If I had been born then, would I have been one who would have heard the Shepherd’s story? Would I have believed? Would I have found and followed the Savior? Would I have walked the dusty roads to seek Him out, to hear His words? Would I have cared about the ridicule from those who did not believe, and followed anyway? I would like to think so. If I bring these thoughts of mine full circle, I have to ask myself if I follow Him now? Certainly I try. But always I can do better.

We’ve talked with our kiddos about keeping the Spirit of Christmas in the forefront of this Holiday Season. We are to each choose one thing to give Jesus this upcoming year…a personal commitment of change, of living a higher standard. We aren’t “gift” people. Gifts don’t really rock our world. We prefer family time, games, movies, togetherness. But still, we can forget. We can can get busy, and distracted, and unfocused. Our goal this year is to reign that in and try to celebrate Christmas the way we should. Things and stuff don’t really matter. That all becomes very clear when life comes to a screeching halt, when lives hang in the balance, when we want so badly for God to tell us that everything will be okay, but He never tells us the end from the beginning so that we can learn to live by faith. But when life is good, when lives don’t hang in the balance, when bills are paid fairly easily…that’s when we forget. Living the Gospel in the midst of comfort is a bigger challenge than living it in the midst of trials. Trials come and go, but our goal is to be faithful at all times, and in all things, and in all places. Surely we can do that much. At least we can try.


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  1. Indeed. Nothing makes us realize how important our faith is until things go wrong.

  2. I love this thought process of giving something to Jesus as a gift! We do gifts, and play games, and spend family time together, but I have always felt like I could add more emphasis on Jesus…the whole point! I think I may use this idea…..I assume o would be fine with this! 🙂

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