By Kari Diane Pike
Have you ever noticed that when we celebrate special events we almost always include something special that gives off light? Think about it. We put candles on birthday cakes, create magical light displays with fireworks, and string millions of lights for Christmas... We are drawn to light. We love light. We need light.
A quick search of the scriptures showed me more than 250 references to light. Study of the book of Ether expanded my mind and my heart filled with joy as I gained new insight about the miracle of light. Ether 2 tells about the brother of Jared, who obeys the Lord’s commandment to prepare vessels to carry his friends and family across the great sea. In verse 22, we read,
“And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?”
The Lord doesn’t immediately answer the brother of Jared. In verse 23, the Lord asks the brother of Jared what should be done considering they can’t have windows or fire on the vessels. Then the Lord says,
“24For behold, ye shall be as a awhale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the bwinds have gone forth cout of my mouth, and also the drains and the floods have I sent forth.
25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?”
That is when I saw this story in a new light; light that helped me understand how these scriptures apply to us in this day and time. The Lord knows we can’t make it on our own, so He has given us the means to be prepared for our personal storms. He can and will lift us from our “depths” of sorrow and pain. The brother of Jared thought about how they could have light in their vessels. He worked out a solution to the best of his ability, and he took it back to the Lord. In Ether 3:4, we read:
“And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all apower, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy bfinger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have clight while we shall cross the sea.”
The Lord then touched the stones with his finger and in Ether 6:3,10 we learn: “And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness. And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.”
When we are encompassed about by our own stormy seas, we can call on the Lord and He will bring us safely through the tempest. We, too, can have “light continually” to light our journey. As I ponder on this, 3 Nephi 17:24 comes to my mind:
“And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and aencircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them”.
Just like that sacred fire, the light of the Lord that we can carry with us on this arduous journey we call life, will form a protective shield between us and the darkness of the adversary. I know that as I drop to my knees in prayer and immerse myself in the scriptures, I find strength…strength of body, mind and spirit. A recent entry in my journal says:
“As days go by and I witness the trials and tribulations through which my friends and neighbors pass, I see with greater clarity how close we must be to the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The longer I serve in this calling, the more fervent my prayers are becoming- I see more things as they really are and I feel things more acutely. My prayers are becoming more sincere, more focused, more intense…and longer. I find my heart drawn out in prayer continually. I have never felt so inadequate, yet so strong at the same time. I know the strength comes from God and I find it through prayer and scripture study and service. I see my weaknesses more clearly and Satan knows that and he works really hard to get me to focus on those weaknesses, telling me that “I can’t.” Well, I know better. I know I can do hard things, through faith in my Lord, Jesus Christ. I can stand for truth and righteousness.”
I want to celebrate this Christmas season by sharing and being a light. For someone who is usually caught up in the “doing” part of the holidays, this will be a challenge. But I know that the true miracle of Christmas is in our hearts and all we need is a little light to shine.