And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
 Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
 For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began -- have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?
 Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
 Yea, and have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted?
Celebrating Jesus' 'Condescension' by Joseph Farah
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
"To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
"And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
"And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
"And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." — Luke 1:26-33 (King James Version)
Next week, Christians around the world will be in full Christmas mode — attending churches, saying prayers, singing carols and exchanging gifts in remembrance of the birth of their Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.
We also will be reading from the familiar passages in the Gospel of Luke that describe the circumstances of the Virgin Birth — an event like no other in the history of the world.
There have been movies and books about these events. But most have focused, understandably, on the notable obedience and sacrifices of Joseph and Mary in bringing the baby Jesus into the world.
But have you ever thought about what that experience was like for Jesus? We all know how Jesus sacrificed himself for us at the end of his mortal life — the excruciating tortures he endured, the humiliation, the death on the cross.
But at this time of the year, I often think about the sacrifice he, the co-creator of the universe, made temporarily to give up his omniscience, his omnipotence, his almighty powers and his seat at the right hand of God and to live inside the womb of a young Jewish girl named Mary and to submit himself to the protection of an obscure Jewish carpenter named Joseph.
He literally stepped down from heaven into a fallen world of danger and deception. He even, presumably, had to disengage from his own divine consciousness to become a helpless embryo. He had to be born under trying circumstances following a rough 70-mile walk by his parents from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
He gave up all the unimaginable riches and untold wisdom of the universe to be born in a barn and laid in an animal trough.
But most of all, try to imagine what it was like sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven contemplating this idea of becoming utterly helpless and, for at least a period of time, presumably, clueless!
Like any other child, Jesus was born not knowing how to walk or talk. How many of us would be willing to trade our own lives and consciousness even as adult mortal human beings to re-enter the world that way again?
That's what Christmas represents to me. It is every bit as awe-inspiring as contemplating Jesus' death and Resurrection.
We often talk about and ponder the Ascension. But what about the "Condescension" that took place when Jesus became, first, an unborn baby and, later on that day in Bethlehem, a vulnerable little infant who would be hunted down by Herod and who would grow up to die an ugly death on the cross?
Believers acknowledge the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary. But truly, we ought to consider the sacrifice he made the day he willingly stepped down from heaven in the Virgin Birth, which also might be termed the "Miraculous and Mysterious Condescension."
Merry Christmas. And thank you, Jesus!
COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.
Bishop Richard C. Edgley, The Condescension of God
This page is sponsored by Tom Irvine, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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