“More Than Just a Manger”
A Testimony of Christmas
~by Heather L.
A few years ago I realized something very important – that the story of Jesus Christ’s birth is about more than a manger – oh, so much more! The angels’ singing wasn’t just about a baby being born. They sang because they knew God’s promises were beginning to be fulfilled with that special birth. To understand their joy fully, we need to remember the rest of the story….
The story of Jesus Christ’s birth began before he was born, even before Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. It began in a meeting in heaven, called by our Heavenly Father for all of His spirit children. You and I were there as He explained His plan for all of us.
We would each have the opportunity to come to earth, to have a physical body. During our time on earth, we would learn, and grow, and make choices. That agency, the freedom to choose, was one of Heavenly Father’s precious gifts to us. We would need to learn to use it wisely so we could return to his presence after our time on earth.
We were excited to go to earth, but worried as we realized that bad choices we might make would keep us from being able to live with our loving Heavenly Father forever.
Satan volunteered to go down to earth to be sure that none of us would go astray. He guaranteed that we’d all make it back to Heavenly Father. His plan, however, would take away our ability to choose for ourselves, taking away that precious gift Father had given us. And Satan sought for his own glory, not Father’s.
Jesus, on the other hand, offered his life as a payment for our bad choices. He would suffer for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to, if we would repent and forsake them. Jesus sought only to glorify Heavenly Father, and to help us all return safely home – if we chose to repent for our mistakes.
Heavenly Father chose Jesus’ to fulfill His plan, and Satan was angry. He convinced a third of Heavenly Father’s spirit children to follow him in open rebellion. Satan and his followers were cast out of heaven, without bodies.
It is Satan’s goal to keep those of us who chose to follow Heavenly Father from returning to his presence. He and his followers use what ever means they can: flattery, distraction, temptation, discouragement, lies. They only want to foil Father’s plan and have us be miserable like they are: unable to progress or receive Heavenly Father’s promised blessings. They don’t care about us; they just want to win.
Adam and Eve knew of Heavenly Father’s plan because angels came to teach them these important truths. They taught their children, and so on. Prophets have taught of the coming of Christ throughout history, reminding the people of Heavenly Father’s love for them, that he would send his Only Begotten Son to show them how to live worthy to return to his presence. People needed to know that they shouldn’t give up if they made a bad choice. Overcoming a mistake or a sin was not impossible, as Satan said, but with God, all things are possible – even overcoming mistakes if we will have faith in Jesus Christ and repent.
People needed to know of the promise of resurrection – that even though Christ would die, he would be resurrected, his body and spirit being reunited. And because Christ would overcome death, all of us would be able to be resurrected, too.
So on that starlit night, when the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, was born in a manger, I believe we were among those who rejoiced. We knew that because of his birth, we could repent and be forgiven when we made bad choices. And our body and spirit could be reunited and resurrected after we died.
Most of all, we rejoiced because, through Jesus Christ, we could return to be with our Heavenly Father again forever. If we would repent.
This is why the birth of Christ that we celebrate each Christmas is about oh, so much more than a manger!