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Earlier this month I went along with my husband, Bob, to minister to a ward family. Because it’s December, he asked each of them to share their favorite Christmas carol. I should tell you that this family is loaded with musical talent, so we enjoyed snippets of many sentimental favorites, funny ones, and ones they sang in harmony. It really put me in the Christmas spirit.
Then Bob told everyone that he wanted to share his favorite Christmas song. He surprised us all by reciting the third verse of a very well-known hymn:
And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
How Great Thou Art was not intended to be a Christmas number. You won’t hear it on the Christmas radio stations, or on Christmas albums by your favorite recording stars. But there it is, reminding us what actually happened when Christ was born.
Amidst the shopping, the wrapping, the eating, the parties, the entire festive celebration, I wonder how many people stop to ponder what our Heavenly Parents went through, in sending their son. There is no word to capture the magnitude of this gift. Awesome, incredible, amazing—all words fall short.
Christ’s infinite atonement was perfectly planned, perfectly executed. He made it possible for us to return home again to our Father and Mother in Heaven. Because of His life and His supreme sacrifice, we are redeemed. We are purchased with His blood. We are loved beyond our ability to comprehend it. He knows every one of us by name, and suffered for us individually.
But it wasn’t easy for Jesus or for our Heavenly Parents. And it had to begin with a birth, that glorious moment when everything—everything!—became possible for us. The entire Plan of Exaltation depended upon this phenomenal gift. As I’ve said before, Christmas is only a big deal because Easter is an overwhelming deal.
As we bustle through this holiday, let’s find some quiet moments when we can reflect, when we can say a prayer of thanks, when we can listen for inspiration, and when we can recommit to following our Savior. Let’s remember not only what He did, but what His Heavenly Parents did, and how much love that took.
I scarce can take it in.
Hilton’s newest work, A Little Christmas Prayer, is destined to become a Christmas classic. Sometimes it takes a child to raise a village, and this tale teaches anyone, of any faith, the magic of gratitude. All her books and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.