I read the Nephite Christmas story in my daily Book of Mormon reading today. I know I blogged a bit about it during our Christmas Scripture Advent messages in December, and how it is one of my favorite pieces of of the Christmas story throughout all of scripture.
The Savior reassured a faithful servant of God: "Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand" (3 Nephi 1:13). And this is still His message today. His second coming is at hand. It is coming. We see the signs of it every day. The Lord is coming again, and just as it did before, it will "fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets." We have had prophets for centuries foretell of Christ coming to earth again, including Isaiah and John the Revelator, but also by the Savior Himself.
For those who are keeping His commandments and striving to live righteously, this Second Coming is always a reason for us to lift up our head and be of good cheer. The world is full of scary, frightening, despicable things. So many of mankind are sowing wickedness everywhere. Thus we see wickedness and destruction are now being reaped, and not just by mankind. Nature's destructive forces are also lending a hand. It is part of the prophecy, and part of the Lord's promise that if the wicked do not repent, punishment ensues. It is punishment for their benefit if only they will grasp that what they're doing is wrong and they are again being offered a chance to believe in Christ, repent, and be made whole.
But in spite of all the darkness and wickedness that abound and surround us in this world, we can be of good cheer. We can lift up our heads. We can walk in confidence. Because the Savior is with us, and He has promised the righteous peace and joy not just at the end of this journey, but during it as well. This goes hand-in-hand with one of my favorite quotes of all time has hung on the wall by my bed ever since I first read it 12 years ago:
"you can wake up every day looking forward to new adventures with hope smiling brightly before you because you have a Savior. You are baptized in His Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You just need to stay in, pressing forward with a brightness of hope to your heavenly home." -Julie B. Beck