Sunday, December 27, 2015

Neal A. Maxwell on the gifts of an unending Christmas

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"God's gifts, unlike seasonal gifts, are eternal and unperishable, constituting a continuing Christmas which is never over! These infinite gifts are made possible by the 'infinite atonement' (2 Nephi 9:7; Alma 34:10-12). Without the 'infinte atonement' there would be no universal immortality, nor could there be given the greatest gift which even God can give—eternal life! (D&C 6:13; 14:7.)
"Meanwhile, if we cannot distinguish the eternal things from the things of the day, we are to be pitied. The first Christmas in the Middle East was met with massive, uncomprehending indifference. In both fact and symbol there was no room at the inn. People were busy, just as in the days of Noah, and just as they will be prior to the Second Coming....
"He before whom a few gifts were laid in that lowly manger has spread so many gifts before us, thereby providing an unending Christmas. In fact, from Him for whom there was no room at the inn there comes to the faithful so many blessings 'that there shall not be room enough to receive [them]'! (Malachi 3:10.)"
- Neal A. Maxwell, "The Christmas Scene," Bookcraft (1994), p. 4, 5

The concept of an "infinite gift" is foreign to most of our mortal interactions; so many of our gifts are temporary, disposable, non-lasting. How fortunate we are to be the recipients of such divine gifts—"eternal and unperishable."

I appreciated the description of that first Christmas night, and the gift that was met with "massive, uncomprehending indifference." That problem is widespread in our day, with the busy-ness of our lives and the confusion of priorities!

So Jesus provides to us "an unending Christmas" of gifts and blessings—more than we have room to receive! How He must love us! How we should love Him!

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