Have you ever taken a moment to think about what it must have been like for Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she first looked into the stable and saw her “room” for the night? Unlike the clean tidy straw and the perfect cradle-shaped mangers we have in our modern-day nativities, the stable Mary saw was likely musty, dirty, filled with flies and a variety of unclean animals. Yet, she knew when she saw that spot for the first time that it would be the place of something holy and miraculous, despite its current imperfections.
As a mother who preferred a clean hospital room to a stable, I believe it would have been disheartening and difficult to have such conditions. Surely Mary would have preferred the warmth and comfort of a room in the inn, but being an obedient, faithful, daughter of God, she humbly accepted the opportunity of motherhood and took her place in the stable. In order for her child, the literal son of God, to descend beneath all of mankind, so, too, did Mary, as she laid down amongst the animals for the sacred birth.
But being receptive to her calling, Mary did not see her condition as a trial, but as a blessing which allowed her to become a mother.
LDS Church scholar Susan Easton Black said that from the scriptures we learn, Mary’s son, Jesus, inherited “the physical, mental, and spiritual traits of his parents—one, the glorified God; the other, a worthy, blessed mortal woman.” Could Mary have had such blessings without experiencing the trials in her life?
Jesus was our perfect example, and he learned much at the hand of his righteous mother, yet even He had to suffer pain, injustice, beating and eventual death before His mortal mission was fulfilled. He knew suffering, though He did no wrong. We, as imperfect mortals, cannot hope to escape life without a bitter swallow here and there.
The amazing truth that Jesus Christ knew is that our trials are not meant to torture us or beat us down but are blessings meant to allow us opportunities for learning, growth and miracles!
This has been a year of many miracles for me and my family. We feel so blessed to KNOW the truth about our Savior, Jesus Christ, and to have been blessed by Him and our Heavenly Father. As we say Merry CHRISTmas this year, know that we mean it in the core sense of the word. May you be blessed with the spirit of CHRIST this season. May you have faith, hope, love and miracles surround you. May you serve others as He did and learn what the pure love of Christ is all about this CHRISTmas.
I love you all, more than you know. Thank you for making my whole year a season of CHRISTmas.