074JR - For the New Year

"In the Midst of Thee" - volumes 1 & 2 contain 200 favorite Glenn Rawson Stories - at: History of the Saints . org

From “In the Midst of Thee” – volume 2.

I don’t care who you are, but by this time of the year you should have your Christmas lights down and your Christmas tree put away. But if you let the holiday go, that’s good, but please do not let that spirit go.

What I want you to listen to now is “what did Jesus do after his first Christmas?”

Now if you’ll recall, we left off the story that Joseph and Mary were in Egypt for their safety. The angel of the Lord came to Joseph and they returned and settled in Nazareth of Galilee. (Matthew 2:22-23) Christmas was over now for the holy family, and the mortal probation of God’s Son was underway.

Now, understand [that] mortality is indeed a probation. (Alma 12:24) Each of us here was given a body, a mind, and a heart. And the time, the means, and the commandment to improve – note that word – ‘improve’ all three. (Alma 34:33) With the gift of a body, mind, and heart, we are to live life, love God and love our fellow man. It was the same for Jesus as it is for us, and more so for Him, for “where much is given much is required.” (D&C 82:3)

Now will the progress be slow? Will – will perfection take time and patience? Well, it will for us. Even Jesus waited thirty years from that first Christmas until His ministry began. (JST Matthew 3:26)

[If] you’ll remember that Jesus grew up and “served under His father.” Joseph was a carpenter. Thereby, with that kind of work, Jesus not only grew physically, but he “waxed strong.” (JST Matthew 3:24) Jesus was a physically strong man. My friends, there is indescribable joy in mastering and strengthening the physical body.

Jesus also grew spiritually. Luke records that he “waxed strong in Spirit…and the grace of God was upon Him;” (Luke 2:40), that he “increased in favor with God.” (Luke 2:52) Jesus was close to His Father.

This new year, as we study, obey, and pray, it will be the same for us – and oh! – It will feel so good.

Now Luke also says that during His boyhood, Jesus “increased in wisdom,” “being filled with wisdom,” he says. (Luke 2:52, 40) Wisdom is vision and power. The Savior developed His mind while still a child to an astonishing degree, (John 7:15) becoming wiser than any man in His generation, even Solomon Himself. (Luke 11:31) It is for us as it was for Him. The mind must be developed by prayer, and by diligent study.

Now, it’s also fascinating to know that Jesus even in His youth “spake not as other men…” and “…neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach Him.” (JST Matthew 3:25) The Savior was so far above every man in every way, yet as He increased in favor with God, Jesus also increased in favor with man. (Luke 40:52) In other words, in Jesus’ early years, people liked Him. In stark contrast to the hate and crucifixion at the end of His life, at the beginning of His life, He was loved and favored by those who knew Him. (Greek definition of “favour”) He loved and was loved, just as I hope it happens with us.

I’ll say it again, Christmas is over; it’s a new year! So what should you do for resolutions? Do as Jesus did after His first Christmas. Grow in mind, body, and spirit. Open your heart, and love God and man.

You know, as we let the Savior in, as we grow as He grew, He takes us from grace to grace, higher and higher in power and perfection of mind, body, and heart – until that perfect day that we are with Him.

Glenn Rawson – January 2008
Music: Angels We Have Heard on High (edited) Micheal Dowdle
I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus (edited) – Michael Dowdle
Song: I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus – Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra