20151226

The Meaning of Christmas 2015 (Christmas)

On this Boxing Day, after the experience of spending Christmas Day with my family, I ponder the meaning of "the spirit of Christmas" at home. Yet what does the spirit of Christmas really mean?

This Christmas is unlike all the Christmases before today: I love it, despite all the gift giving. Because of the magic of giving without any thought of myself, I am free of myself.

Who benefits from that freedom? All of us, who too have freed ourselves from wondering "What's in it for me?"

Instead, embraced by what began the world of today, I shall declare what makes us free:

"Love one another as each of us has learned to love our enemies in forgiveness and with the mercy of God."

For that is what the spirit of Christmas really means to me. What say thee?

Commentary:

Disclaimer: everything I write is my opinion only, and not endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Though I present their plan of salvation, my interpretation of Jesus as son of God differs greatly from theirs to remain true to all peoples of the Book, be they Ahmadi, Baha'i, Christian, Druze, Jew, Mandean, Muslim, or Yazidi


Indeed, Christmas represents God's forgiveness for the trespasses of past sins and mercy to everyone who truly repents of them. This is but my own personal opinion.

Yet the doubt of this sentiment by unbelievers is matched by their unspoken belief in the mercilessness of a cold and cruel world devoid of God, who to them is an imaginary friend.

To me, this imaginary friend is real in my heart, and he has a name: God Almighty. Before we chose to live this mortal life, we once were, are still, and shall remain His children, all of us sons and daughters of God.

For not only do I believe, the spirit of Christmas is captured in the imagination of all believers of God Almighty that one of his sons, the Christ Jesus, is real — not just in my heart, but in the heats of all believers on his name, too.

We know him to be born in Springtime, over 2000 years ago. Even though the celebration of Jesus' birth is a recent innovation assimilated into his worship, the love of God Almighty leads his faithful children to the Savior, born in a manger so long ago.

Although my faith sustains me, the truth that sets me free is this: Jesus as prophet has brought the Comforter that is promised to everyone who is baptized in his name. My belief in this promise sustains my faith in God Almighty. Because of that faith, I am free of the error of unbelief symbolized by one question — 'What's in it for me?"

That error is corrected by my belief in a merciful God — and in the son of God, the Christ Jesus — to become the quest for what is in that faith of the believer who believes in the greatest story ever told: the story of Jesus.

Christmas begins that story. Each light in a Christmas tree represents the light of the soul bequeathed with the Holy Ghost, enlightened with the belief in God Almighty and the faith of a mustard seed which seems so small yet grows quickly, basking in the light of Christ Jesus.

In this light, faith in Jesus and his Atonement, repentance of sins, baptism in his name, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in the path of perseverance are the five things which are near and dear to my heart as the plan of salvation.

Christmas reminds me of these five things which shape my understanding of God's plan of salvation clearly to me. Christ Jesus' story clarifies how that understanding affirms my belief in God Almighty. As God's dearest child, Jesus is the shining example of perfection. This is why he is referred to as God's Only Begotten, and this metaphor is often taken literally, lest its metaphorical significance distract the doubters from its spiritual truth: the love of God for us all that Jesus died for our sins, and thus atoned for our sins. This is the truth of his Atonement, that I believe on the name of Jesus to follow in his example — to go and sin no more.

When Jesus was baptized in God's name by John the Baptist, he did so to show that he is the Word, and that the Light of the Word is of God Almighty.

Though men will debate of immaculate conception and conflate the term "son of God" into "Son of God," my belief in the Light has revealed to me through the Holy Ghost that the Word which enlightens us reflects upon that Light.

Thus am I freed by the Word to show that the Light of God Almighty shines on us all. Though this be my personal belief, it leads me to remain resolute in my belief in Jesus as son of God Almighty, comforted by the Holy Ghost that is of God, the Father of us all.

For God is One as the Light of the world, and Jesus, the Word that shines that Light on the world — by the subtle power of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God that enlightens all believers, even myself.

What is Christmas then? It is about the spirit of giving that transcends exchanging gifts and even that of Boxing Day Specials. Many people line up to to get the best deals in town at such sales events.

Though Christmas Day was yesterday, all of this on which I reflect might be forgotten, were I to indulge myself by lining up in a long queue to buy a Boxing Day special. Instead, I sit here crafting this Christmas message, and have no doubt of the import of my message to my followers, both old and new.

Christmas is special, because it teaches us about giving without expectation of getting something in return. Were it possible to be giving 24-7, 365 days a year, men, women and children might perfect themselves daily. Yet this wish to be giving of oneself is perfection. Free agency perfected might realize it as ideal, but reality favours being human; for to be human is to err, and forgiveness, divine — due to God's mercy.

This brings us to the birth of Jesus in a manger on a clear Spring night over two millennia ago.

For me, the birth of Jesus — symbolized by Christmas — defines the moment when God Almighty showed once again, shows even now, and shall show tomorrow how merciful that he truly is. This indeed is the mercy of God in action — compassion and loving-kindness for us all.

That an innocent child of God grew up to become his greatest prophet confirms the mercy of God Almighty and the destiny of that child as our savior Jesus as Messiah. Indeed, Christmas is about the Christ child, the gift of our salvation.

"Behold,a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel." — Isaiah 7:14

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