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I Believe in Jesus Christ

During the summer when we were in Utah, I took the girls to the BYU Museum of Art. This painting by Brian Kershisnik, called Nativity, is huge and incredible up close. You see angels of different ages, some weeping with joy, some singing. Look closely at the holy family: in Joseph's face you can see an expression of relief and maybe wonder? I can't even find words to describe it. Zoom in next to the virgin Mary, you see two women with hands covered in blood, probably midwives who attended the birth of baby Jesus. I remember feeling surprised at the depth of detail, and then it made me think about more details surrounding his birth. A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe he was born in Bethlehem, and that an angel came to announce his birth to shepherds. I believe Jesus is the Good Shepherd spoken of in the New Testament. Believing has been easy for me, so I really can't take much credit for it. I hope that my actions show that I'm a believer, and that people who meet me can easily see that I'm a Christian.

In Acts 11:26 we read where the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. What does it mean to be a Christian? It means that I believe in Jesus Christ. I'm trying to be like Him. I spend my days seeking to serve and bless, ministering to my family and friends. My husband and I are trying to point our children towards Jesus Christ.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25: 23, 26) That was from Nephi, an ancient Native American prophet. I wrote more about The Book of Mormon over here.

Since we've moved to Texas, when I meet somebody new, one of the most common questions I hear is: "What church do y'all go to?" There are lots of churches around here. Some are really huge. Overall this community is pretty religious with a lot of religious diversity, so it's not taboo to ask. Usually when people learn we're from Utah, they guess that we're members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They're right. They usually say something like, "Oh, y'all are Mormons, right?" Yes, but we don't go to the church of Mormon. It's the restored church of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes people mistakenly think we're not Christians. I'm guessing this happens for a few reasons:

a. We don't have any decorations of the cross on our churches.
b. I don't wear a necklace with a cross on it.
c. Some pastors and preachers openly talk trash about us.

The first two are easy to address. We believe Jesus Christ died and was crucified on the cross at Calvary, but more important is what happened three days later. He was resurrected, and He lives. He is still actively directing the affairs of the church through a living prophet. Another writer explained this much better over here. President Hinckley, a former president of our church, described it beautifully this way, relating a conversation he had with a friend after a temple open house.  President Hinckley's friend asked:

“I’ve been all through this building, this temple which carries on its face the name of Jesus Christ, but nowhere have I seen any representation of the cross, the symbol of Christianity. I have noted your buildings elsewhere and likewise find an absence of the cross. Why is this when you say you believe in Jesus Christ?”

President Hinckley responded: “I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian colleagues who use the cross on the steeples of their cathedrals and at the altars of their chapels, who wear it on their vestments, and imprint it on their books and other literature. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the Living Christ.”

He then asked: “If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?”

I replied that the lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship."

Twenty years ago, the twelve apostles met together and clearly explained what we believe about Jesus Christ. Their beautiful statement is called The Living Christ, and it was published on January 1, 2000. You can read it here. My favorite paragraph is near the end, and it talks about a future day when Jesus will come to earth again.

"We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts. 

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles— that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."

Merry Christmas my friends. I'm glad for a day when we give gifts to our loved ones. I'm even more glad for the perfect gift, when God gave his son. I'm glad for the gifts of hope, faith and love that make this journey through life doable. I'm glad for the redeeming power of Jesus Christ and for the grace he extends to me and my family. It's the best gift of the season.

There's a new 18 minute movie about the nativity. It's beautiful, the language in the background is Aramaic. To see it go here.


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