Dec 10

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Twenty Days Until Christmas – Day 7

The Spirit of Christmas
by Greg Olsen © 2009

Is Celebrating Christmas An Illusion?

As we “cheerfully” greet each other with, “Merry Christmas,” is it an illusion, is there any substance, or is it all fluff? At this time of year we are all supposed to put on a jolly smile, be happy, celebrate, and rush everywhere spreading good cheer. This merry making can be challenging if our world is crashing in all around us. We all want to believe somewhere deep inside, that wrong shall fail, right prevail, and there will be peace on Earth. For my family, the reality is that even though we have tried with all our might to do good and right, we have frequently experience unethical and unfair treatment in unusual situations. Some wonder why we try so hard and don’t give up and quit. A close family member recently shared how the wicked in the world seem to prosper, and in a moment of despair they questioned the worth of following God. Listening to them, I thought of Job.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was perfect and upright and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. ( Job 1:1 )

The Lord loved and greatly blessed Job with all a man could hope for. He had a loving family, prosperity, wealth, and seemed full of vim and vigor. In many ways this was my life. I do not claim I was perfect and always upright, but a little over twenty years ago I was physically healthy and strong, had a rapidly growing and prosperous company, a nice home, and most important, a loving family full of faith in God. Then one day, much like Job, our family’s world fell into ruin. Early in this trial I drew comfort from Job’s faith when he said:

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. ( Job 1:21 )

I still have my family, but everything else is gone, except my faith in God. All of my good fortune seemed to crumble into dust. First my company, our financial security, my health, our home, and finally my personal independence disappeared. Not long after our cascade of disasters started, a few friends made the comparison between my life and Job’s. For over twenty years my world has continually gotten smaller as my health continues to fail and opportunities for success have all seemed to vanish.

Throughout this time of disappointment I have with great effort clung to my faith in God. It has not been easy at times desperately clinging to faith, but God has never left me alone. I know this, because I often feel His presence, even when I feel no strength to go on. Like Job, I have lamented and thought as he did when he said.

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. ( Job 3:3 )

Even though, at times, I feel weak and wish God would call me home, so I might rest, I have a stronger desire to go on. My great desire is to succeed despite the cinder and ash littering my life. I have been given a special gift. I have personally learned in the darkest nights that there is an Everlasting Light to guide, help, and bless us. I am not alone in this gift; many have the same desire for all the world to know, as I know, and as they know, that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. His life from beginning to end is the most miraculous life this world has ever known. There is no other like Him. I know from personal experience that He is able to touch us in ways nobody else can. His peace is like no other.

In answer to my opening question: “Is celebrating Christmas an illusion with no substance?” The answer is absolutely, NO! I know with every fiber of my being there is more to this life than I currently see, and with Job, I declare.

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
( Job 19:25 )

In God’s everlasting grace and mercy I have felt glimpses of heaven, and it is worth whatever price I must pay to get there. Actually, the price has already been paid in Gethsemane and on Calvary. Jesus personally paid that price and He is the reason we celebrate Christmas. All Jesus asks is that I follow Him, trust Him, and not let go of Him. Despite the ashes in my life, I celebrate the Living Christ . I celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever seen. This gift was freely given by our Eternal Father in Heaven when He gave us the precious gift of His Only Begotten Son. I celebrate His divine birth. I celebrate His inspired gospel. I celebrate, and am eternally grateful for, His personal sacrifice for me and all mankind. I celebrate His triumphant atonement and resurrection that eternally breaks the bands of death and hell. I celebrate that Jesus marked the way and cleared the path so we might return to our Heavenly Father and with Him enjoy Eternal Life! I celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ.Mormon

Tabernacle Choir – Hallelujah Chorus

(Be sure to turn up the volume to feel the power of this song and choir)

Merry Christmas!

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Painting: The Spirit of Christmas used with permission, Copyright  © 2009 by Greg Olsen


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