January 2013

January 2013
Our Little Family of Three

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Nativity

I decided to a little research on The Nativity Story. I have come to love this story, especially this year with the arrival of my niece, Mercydez. There's some interesting stuff..I encourage you to take the time to read (and watch) as you may learn something new.

1) Jesus
"Mary and Joseph did not need to be taught the deep significance of the name Jesus. The Hebrew root from which it was derived, Jehoshua, means “Jehovah is salvation.” So the mission of Jehovah, soon to be named Jesus, was salvation, and His supreme destiny was to become the Savior of the world."

2) Swaddling Clothes
"Instead of those four words: “wrapped in swaddling clothes” in the English text, only one word is needed in the Greek New Testament. That word is sparganoo, which means to envelop a newborn child with special cloth, strips of which were passed from side to side. The cloth would probably bear unique family identification. That procedure was especially applicable to the birth of a firstborn son. You remember the announcement of an angel at the birth of Jesus: 'This shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger' (Luke 2:12). His wrappings surely would have been distinctive. "

3) The Inn
"In those days an inn was not like a Holiday Inn or a Bethlehem Marriott. A lodging place in that part of Asia had to provide accommodations for traveling caravans, including the people and their animals. Caravans stayed at what was then, as still is, known as a caravansary, or a khan.

Such a facility is typically rectangular in shape. It has a central courtyard for the animals that is surrounded by walled cubicles where the people rest. These quarters allowed guests to be elevated slightly above their animals, with open doorways so that owners could watch over their animals.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 2:7 indicates that there was no room for them in the 'inns,' suggesting that all of the katalumas or cubicles of the caravansary were occupied."

4) The Manger
"What about the manger? The French word, manger means 'to eat.' A manger is a trough or an open box in a stable designed to hold feed, provender, or fodder for animals to eat. Elevated from the floor of the contaminated courtyard, a manger was probably the cleanest site available. Such a feeding trough became the cradle for our Lord!"

5) Mortality vs Immortality
"Jesus was born of an immortal Father and a mortal mother. From His immortal Father, Jesus inherited the power to live forever. From His mortal mother He inherited the fate of physical death.

Those unique attributes were essential for His mission to atone for the sins of all mankind. Thus Jesus the Christ was born to die (See The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 27:13–15). He died that we might live. He was born that all humankind could live beyond the grave. His Atonement was wrought in Gethsemane—where He sweat great drops of blood—and on Golgotha, or Calvary, where His body was lifted up upon a cross above the place of the skull, which signified death.

This infinite Atonement would release man from the infinitude of death (See The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:7). His Atonement made the Resurrection a reality and the gift of eternal life a possibility for all who would obey His teachings. His Atonement became the central act of all human history.

Our recollections of Christmas are enriched by these realities."
(All of the above quotes were taken from the following: Elder Russell M. Nelson, The Message: Christ the Savior Is Born, December 2006)

"We encounter Mary first in Nazareth of Galilee, perhaps sixteen years of age, being visited by Gabriel, the angelicministrant who is second only to Michael in the heavenly hierarchy. Gabriel announces to her: “Thou shalt have a son. His name shall be called Jesus. He shall be the Son of the Highest. He shall reign on the throne of his father David forever. You will be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Ghost. You will be the mother of the Son of God.” (See Luke 1:30–35.)

In my judgment, Mary is one of the greatest women who has ever lived on earth; the spirit daughter of God our Father. She was chosen to provide a body for his son, who was to be born after the manner of the flesh.

We see Mary travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea to be at the place where the Son of God is destined to be born. We see her large with child, and after a long journey, arriving late at a wayside caravanserai, which consists of a central court in which animals are kept and of surrounding rooms to be occupied by travelers. The rooms in this oriental inn are all filled. We see her, with Joseph, bed down where the animals are tethered; and that night God sends his son into the world, angelic choirs attend, and angels’ voices are heard.

We see her through a long period of difficulty and testing and turmoil in life; she travels with Joseph into Egypt and no doubt stays with relatives or Jewish friends in that land. We see her back in Nazareth as the mother who influences the young and growing years of God’s son, who teaches him to crawl and to walk and to speak and to learn the Shema and the various other Jewish religious requirements which then prevailed. We see her at Cana of Galilee, having some control and influence at a wedding feast, inviting her son to do something that commenced his public ministry of miracles.

We see her, finally, standing before a cross when her son says to John, his beloved disciple, “Behold thy mother,” and to her, “Behold thy son.” (John 19:26, 27.) And John from that hour took her into his own home.

I think we see in Mary a pattern of piety and submission to the will of the Lord which is the perfect example for all women." (The above quote was taken from the following: Elder Bruce R. McConki, Our Sisters from the Beginning, June 1979)

It was common practice for a woman to be stoned to death if she was found pregnant and unmarried. Imagine the horror and fear Mary had to face when accepting the great call to be the Mother of the Son of God. What a noble woman. I can't help but to think of Joseph as well. There was plenty of opportunity to leave Mary to the hands of justice and focus on his own pride and (to begin with) his own mis-understandings. But, in spite of all of that, he stood by her. He stayed by her side, took care of her, loved her, and trusted her. What a noble, kind man.

I hope we can remember the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is so significant and important in our lives. Had he not been born he could not have died...atoning for our sins. I have been struck with the thought recently that He was born in the most humble of circumstances, He lived and served in the most humble of circumstances, and He died in the most humble of circumstances. Let us focus on and celebrate His birth, His life, and ultimately His great death.

If you haven't already, I encourage you to watch the video posted above. It is absolutely beautiful. It is a video of The Nativity. Dim the lights, turn up the volume, and watch it with your family! It's a great way to bring the true spirit of Christmas into your home (it's 5 1/2 minutes long).

Merry Christmas

1 comment:

Pinky said...

Wow! I learned a lot and it filled me with the TRUE Spirit of Christmas. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas.