For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.When we hold a newborn child in our arms, we are given a small insight into the love our Father in Heaven has for us. One cannot look lovingly into the face of an infant without also seeing the great potential and complete innocence of the child. In this painting, Mary looks into the face of her child, her joy. His name will be Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, but she will call Him “son,” and He will call her “mother.”
“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”
How often do we seek to go “apart to pray”? How often do we seek a place separated from the world and its commotion? I felt this portrait conveyed to me a sense of wanting to just talk to my Father in Heaven alone, away from distractions, away from troubles and fears. The two of us, a Father who has more love for me than I can imagine, waits to listen and to calm and reassure His love for me as I speak out to Him.
Cast Your Net John 21:1-14One week after the Saviors’ resurrection the Apostles returned to Sea of Tiberias to fish, because that was what they knew. They spent the entire night casting their nets into the water with no success.Then as the morning sun broke through the clouds they saw a figure on the distant shore and heard the voice suggesting they should cast their nets to the other side of the boat.Like the Apostles that morning, we too must choose. Choose to routinely continue in our own way, paying no attention to the Savior’s voice; too involved in life. Satisfied to keep our head down and continue to fish. Or perhaps, we act like the Apostle at the front of the boat and we stretch as far out as we can to hear the voice of the Master, to listen and to follow.Have you ever wondered how often in your life the Savior has been on the shore calling to you? How did you respond?
The relationship of Joseph and Jesus is easily overlooked. The scriptures say little about this man who humbly accepted the role of stepfather to the Son of God. I am sure there were nights Joseph held Jesus in his arms and, feeling the weight of his responsibility, looked heavenward and prayed, "He is not my son. He is Yours. Father, help me."
My husband is a stepfather to our children, and as I watch him I am reminded of the millions of others who accept the responsibility of loving and raising children that are not their own. They change diapers, attend ball games, and bandage knees without any thought for themselves. They too look heavenward and offer the prayer of every parent, "They are not my children. They are Yours. Father, help me."
On April 3, 1836, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were in the temple at Kirtland, Ohio. The occasion was that of a Sabbath day meeting. The Prophet prefaces his record of the manifestations with these words: "In the afternoon, I assisted the other Presidents in distributing the Lord's Supper to the Church, receiving it from the Twelve, whose privilege it was to officiate at the sacred desk this day. After having performed this service to my brethren, I retired to the pulpit, the veils being dropped, and bowed myself, with Oliver Cowdery, in solemn and silent prayer. After rising from prayer, the following vision was opened to both of us." Doctrine and Covenants 110, gives the account of the vision they received.