Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Helpless as a Baby

December 22nd, 2010 by G.

This is the time of year for Christmas devotions. This year my thoughts have been on the impulse to serve the needy that we have at Christmas. We don’t have it at Easter. My thoughts have also been on the Christ child. The religious significance of the grown Christ, on the cross and in the garden, is obvious. But what did Christ do for us as a bare baby?

Lehi tells us that there are things that act and things that are acted upon. The man Christ–the God Christ–is the ultimate actor. What he does matters more than anything else in the universe. But the child Christ does not act. He represents the element in Christ’s make-up that is acted upon. Perhaps this is one meaning behind the cryptic verses in Mosiah that Christ is both the Father and the Son.

It is essential to Christ’s actions that he also be acted upon. Alma prophesies of Christ’s birth and immediately states that Christ will have to suffer “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” in order to atone for us. Matthew 25 tells us that Christ is able to save us precisely because he was helpless and naked and we cared for him.

So we celebrate Christ’s birth not just as a foreshadowing of what’s really important in his later life, but because the weak and helpless baby himself matters to us. God did not just condescend to die on a cross. He condescended to be weak and helpless and dependent on mortals like us. That’s what Christmas means. And that’s why we try to find those who are in the image of the Christ Child–the poor, the needy–and give them what aid we can.

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Below are many Christmas devotions that I have enjoyed. I hope you can enjoy some of them too.

Christmas 2009

President Maxwell taught us that we really only have our will to give. He’s right, but we’ve started giving a gift each year to Christ during the Christmas season, some small devotion usually. It lights up the season for us.

LDS material

LDS.org’s Christmas page
The true meaning of Christmas

The Christmas Spirit video

Christ-the Real Gift of Christmas

First Presidency Christmas Devotional 2009

My Christmas Writing

The Slaughter of the Innocents and Falls, Gardens, Deaths
— two reflection on tragedy and sadness at Christmas time. Nine Moons did something similar last year that I really enjoyed but it seems to have vanished.

How we are Mary and We are Joseph and Mary and Holding the Messiah–three essays on being a father or a mother or a recipient of revelation. See also this brief meditation on the comparison between Mary and the tree of life.

Tithing Settlement 2008 and The Feast of Saint Tithing Settlement.

Christmas Devotional 2008

Christmas and the Sacrament — there is only one Christmas — Perhaps the best thing I’ve every written

Mr. Krueger’s Christmas (Eve)

Lonely mission Christmases

The 6th Day of Christmas

Other Christmas Favorites

All six verses of Silent Night

Believing in Santa Claus and The Christmas Dress and Worshipping on Christmas Eve– (Russell Arben Fox)

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Christmas Bells, by Longfellow

Behold the Condescension of God! and O Tannenbaum (the Fowles Brothers)

Two Christmas Poems (KHH)

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times — some of the comments especially are painful and eye-opening

My Testimony, Christmas Morning

Christmas music recommendations–here, here, here, and here. We have also got a lot of mileage from www.Pandora.com. We created a wonderful Christmas music station on it. Our seeds were the Hereford Cathedral Choir (Holiday); For Unto Us a Child is Born, by the Cambridge Singers (Holiday); and The Hallelujah Chorus, by the Canadian Brass (Holiday). KHH’s Advent music posts at BCC are quite nice, I recommend them.

Comments (7)
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December 22nd, 2010 12:26:27
7 comments

Vader
December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, Adam.


Stephanie
December 22, 2010

I gave a talk with a similar theme last Christmas in Sacrament meeting. Here is a portion of my talk (because it relates to the post):

Christ says, “whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive”. Christ lived His life as an example for us to follow. Everything He did points the way for us so we can return to Him. I find it interesting that just as He asks us to become like little children to come back to Him, He came unto us as a child. He chose to come into this world as a vulnerable infant, at the mercy of his earthly parents and His Heavenly Father. When King Herod wanted to kill Him, Christ could not have lifted Himself up to run away. At that point in His mortality, He was wholly dependent on His earthly parents to listen to and obey the will of God to keep Him safe. In the same way, if we are to return to Him, we need to be wholly dependent on our God, to listen to and obey His will as manifest by the Spirit.


Adam G.
December 22, 2010

Stephanie, well put and thank you very much.

Merry Christmas, Vader.

Merrry Christmas, all.


john f.
December 23, 2010

Lehi tells us that there are things that act and things that are acted upon. The man Christ–the God Christ–is the ultimate actor. What he does matters more than anything else in the universe. But the child Christ does not act. He represents the element in Christ’s make-up that is acted upon. Perhaps this is one meaning behind the cryptic verses in Mosiah that Christ is both the Father and the Son.

Great thoughts — totally agree and will enjoy continued contemplation on this point throughout the rest of the season and beyond. Merry Christmas to you.


Vader
December 23, 2010

The question once came up in priesthood meeting why, if we are divine offspring of God, we share 96% of our genes with chimpanzees.

One response was that the other 4% are obviously pretty important, which, while true, sidesteps the question.

The other response was that, if we are destined to become gods, perhaps it behooves us to have some experience first as creatures. I don’t know that it was put that poetically, but that was the thought.


Vader
December 28, 2010

I am just old enough to have been a young kid nuts about space during the Apollo program. I distinctly remember the Christmas broadcast and the reading of Genesis as we were beamed the fuzzy black and white pictures of the cratered surface of the Moon.

I do not remember Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon very well. It was late, I was young, and the blurry black and white picture made it pretty hard to tell what was going on.

Washington was the indispensible man of the Revolution. We really can’t praise him enough here.

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