I feel like most people are pretty good about seeking Christ during the Christmas season. My Facebook feed has countless people posting every day on what they are doing to light the world. At work, we have multiple boxes to take donations for those in need. The radio station I listen to on the way to work has partnered with a shelter for those in need and are trying to make the lives of the unfortunate better. My friends are looking for ways to uplift each other, trying to find the perfect gift just so they can see the joy on each other's faces that comes from having someone love you. Here at church, we're blesseed to have sacrament meeting devoted to Christ and Christmas. If you don't want to come closer to Christ this season, you practically have to cover your eyes and ears and avoid others at all cost.
I think that's a big reason so many people love Christmas. It's easy to feel closer to the Lord this time of the year. As Richard J. Maynes said in the Oct 2015 conference:
"The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ."
That's exactly what this season does for us, it helps us center our lives on Christ. As awesome as it is that the Christmas season helps us focus on the Savior every year, I think it's just as important to make sure we're seeking Him throughout the rest of the year as well.
So what exactly does it mean to seek Christ? Seeking Christ must be an active thing. You aren't going to come closer to Him by simply wandering around in life and getting lucky. There are too many distractions in our world for that to work. Matthew 13:44 states,
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."
Is the gospel important enough in each of our lives that we would give up everything else just to have it? Of course, most of us will never be asked to sacrifice everything just to stay faithful to the gospel, but you will be asked to sacrifice something.
It might be the time it takes to be a faithful home or visiting teacher. Not just briefly reading the monthly lesson on your walk to your appointment, but taking the time needed to think about the needs of those you'll be visiting and how you are able to help them.
It might be skipping out on that movie that you really wanted to see, but isn't exactly uplifting.
It could be a change of attitude so you aren't focussing so much on negativity.
Most of us are good people. Many of us may have been born in the church and have had the gospel our whole lives. Even if you weren't able orn in the church, you're here now. We're all at least on the right path. There was a young man in the scriptures in a similar situation.
16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
This was direction specifically for that one young man, not a general commandment. But the principal of asking "what lack I yet?" Is the same. None of are perfect, yet that is also a commandment. Christ has said "be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect."
For some of us, there are flaws that stand out in our own minds like sore a sore thumb. Others may not be as aware of exactly what they need to do next. In both cases, if we humble ourselves and ask the Lord "what lack I yet", He will answer. The test for us, then, is are we willing to make the changes that He requires of us? Or will we be like the young man in the scriptures who went away sad because he wasn't willing to give up what was required of him?
As I've been preparing for this talk, there has been a hymn that has been floating around in my head. Hymn 274 The Iron Rod. Most of us are familiar with the first 3 verses where we are told that the Iron Rod is the word of God and that it will guide us through the mist of darkness in our lives. But the 4th and 5th verses are also important.
4. And, hand o’er hand, the rod along,
Through each succeeding day,
With earnest prayer and hopeful song,
We’ll still pursue our way.
5. Afar we see the golden rest
To which the rod will guide,
Where, with the angels bright and blest,
Forever we’ll abide.
Hold to the rod, the iron rod;
’Tis strong, and bright, and true.
The iron rod is the word of God;
’Twill safely guide us through.
As we center our lives on Christ and seek Him, we will be able to truly feel the Christmas spirit, not just for the next week, but throughout the whole year and our lives. I pray that each of us will be able to center our lives on Christ so that we can have a life full of joy.