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Temple workers devotional, Sunday December 12, 2021

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

A Christmas devotional featuring Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, presented to the temple ordinance workers of the Provo Utah Temple, December 12, 2021

  • There is a special strength that only the temple can provide and give.
  • This looks like a Young Adult devotional.  (There are many BYU students that serve in the Provo Temple)
  • This is a veritable ‘army in white’.
  • Everything we say and do in the temple is rooted in and grounded in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • There is much in the temple ceremonies about the life, the name, and the example of our Savior.
  • Simeon’s experience with the baby Jesus, and how it touched Elder Holland’s life
    • Jesus was taken to the temple when he was 40 days old, as per custom.
    • Simeon had been promised that he would see the Savior before he left this mortal life.
    • He saw Jesus and told Mary that a sword would pierce his side.  Why did he need to give such a brutal pronouncement to Mary, Elder Holland wondered?
    • Simeon wanted all to understand the full extent of Christ’s life AND DEATH!
    • The manger scene was touching, but the scene at the cross is where the greatest message comes.
    • Simeon brought focus to the Lord’s victory over death and hell by talking of a sword piercing his side.
    • This baby’s mission would be very incomplete without the cross that awaited him in the future, bringing the Atonement to fruition.
    • Elder Holland came to realize that His birth was ultimately for His death.
    • The gold, frankincense, and myrrh would ultimately be replaced by a crown of thorns, a spear, and a mocking robe.
  • Elder Holland’s father passed away on a Christmas Day.  He said to himself, “Great timing, Lord.”  And then, at 3 am in the morning on the day that his father passed away, Elder Holland heard the crying of a baby from somewhere in the hospital.  He felt that the Lord was saying, “Your sad day is a very happy day for the parents of this new little babe.”  Elder Holland, despite his sorrow at losing his father, realized that Simeon had it right.  His father’s death and the cry of the baby reminded him that without the cross, the Savior’s birth would be just another birth.  In other words, Bethlehem meant very little without the Calvary that would follow.  You can’t separate Bethlehem from Gethsemane.
  • Christmas is joyful because it points to the answer to hard times in our lives.  Jesus’ atonement makes all the difference in our lives.
  • No one can have real joy without carrying real, heavy loads in life.  No one can have real love without one day having real loss.
  • We need to fully expect sadness, deaths, and tribulation, but in Christ we can find hope and faith.
  • This is where the temple comes into play.  The very Plan of Salvation is on broad display before our eyes.  The temple shows us that we can rise above pain, loss, death, and separation.
  • Christmas is joyful, not because of a lack of trials, but because of trials.  Christ makes all the difference.
  • Jesus has the answer — I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He that believeth in me, yet shall he live…
  • “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”
  • Every day in the temple is a ‘Christmas’ day.

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