Saturday, December 24, 2011
Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary
With fellow believers I celebrate this Christmas season with joy and gratitude. What a significant time this is. It is wonderful to be able to have this time to gather with family and acknowledge the importance of the birth of The Savior of the World.
As I’ve thought about His birth I’ve pondered about how important it was that Christ demonstrated His willingness to Atone for us. Each Sunday members of my Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, partake of The Sacrament bread and water in remembrance of His sacrifice and Atonement. There is a specific prayer offered for this ordinance, here is the prayer for the bread:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember Him, and keep His commandments which He has given them, that they may always have His Spirit to be with them. Amen.
One of the important aspects of the bread is that by partaking of it we are demonstrating our willingness. The bread represents His body. He took upon Himself a body in order to Atone for us, it was His demonstration of willingness. How utterly significant it is that the place where He was born, take upon Himself a body, is called Bethlehem which means “house of bread.” There are no coincidences in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here is the prayer that is said on the water.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this water to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father that they do always remember Him, that they may have His Spirit to be with them. Amen.
There is an important difference in these two prayers. In partaking of the bread we demonstrate our willingness. In partaking of the water we demonstrate that we do. Just as Christ actually did perform the Atonement as He shed His blood in taking upon Him our sins and sufferings in Gethsemane and on Calvary.
Christmas is all about celebrating the life of Our Savior and His willingness to take upon Him the glorious mission of The Atonement. In celebrating this we acknowledge with humble gratitude that He fulfilled His mission. Jesus Christ is the light and life of the world. He lives, I know it. Merry Christmas.