Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on the Star of Bethlehem and our personal lights

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.
"The matter, therefore, of being a light is even more important in dark times. Our impact, for better or worse, on others is inevitable, but it is intended that we be a light and not just another shadow.
"The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well."
- Neal A. Maxwell, That My Family Should Partake (Deseret 1974), p. 86
Elder Maxwell's book That My Family Should Partake was written in 1974 when he was serving as Church Commissioner of Education. Many books would follow throughout his ministry, but this is still one of my favorites.

In this passage, he considers the concept of being a light to the world. The darker the times, the more important it is for lights to shine; and as the challenges in our world increase, there's no doubt that God's light is needed more than ever. His disciples are expected to "be a light and not just another shadow."

Then comes a very interesting insight:

As we consider the miraculous appearance and operation of the "Star of Bethlehem," it's interesting to ponder the fact that what we consider miracles are often just divine operations, functioning within established physical laws, in ways we don't understand. Elder Maxwell suggests that God knew about the need for an unusual heavenly phenomenon that would point out a location and would lead travelers to it. He had millennia to prepare that phenomenon to be in place at precisely the time when it would be needed.

And so by extension, if God has that much control, insight, and concern over physical events, how much more might He have interest in directing where and when we have opportunities to let our lights shine for His purposes? If we are vessels of that light, we are then prepared to "illuminate the landscape" surrounding us and to lead others to Him, "warming" them in the process! It's a beautiful analogy, and a great reminder of our responsibility to let His light shine.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15