Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

A day, and a night, and a day

3 Nephi 3:13--3 Nephi 6:16

Don’t judge me, but I have already started listening to Christmas music.

Not all day, or even everyday yet, but a little listen here and there to hold me over.

I really cannot wait for Christmas.

Because of this love/obsession for all things Christmas I need to back up into the weekend’s reading for today’s blog.

We all read of the prophet Samuel, high on a city wall, prophesying of the coming of the Messiah.

These lucky people were even given a countdown to his coming.

A five year advent calendar.

Anticipation rising each passing new year.

Faithful followers of the Lord watched and waited for the sign that would signify His coming.

I cannot imagine how exciting it was to talk among family and friends of the approaching Holy day.

The sign would be magnificent.

A day and a night and a day with no darkness.

At the setting of the sun it would begin to be bright again.

As the five years started to come due, there were some who began to doubt the sign would not come.

Those who did not believe began to make “an uproar throughout the land,” insisting the believers were fools.

The believers started to sorrow.  Perhaps some doubted.

What if they were right?

“But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.”

I can imagine them outside at the ending of each day.

Watching the sun set slowly beyond the horizon.

Hoping.  Praying tonight would be the night.

And each night the sun slipped slowly out of view, and darkness covered the land.

We will have to wait until tomorrow.

Anticipation slowly becoming anxiety--for the contenders set a deadline for the sign.

If He is not here by this particular night—death will be the punishment for believing.

I imagine all eyes turned to Nephi, the president of the church.

What do we do?

Believe.

Then Nephi did the only thing he knew to do in moments like this.

He prayed.

And he prayed.

And he prayed.

“And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day.”

Perhaps many of us will never face a problem that requires prayer that extends through the whole day.

Nephi did.

Then the sweet and satisfying answer.

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world.”

With death literally hanging over their heads, the saints trusted their leader and their God that the sign would come.

And so it did.

 

They were saved!

Saved by a setting of the sun that brought light.

Christmas morning.

The birth of Jesus Christ literally saved their lives.

They would certainly remember this day.

They would celebrate it year after year after year.

The day they were snatched from death’s grasp.

They would eat, and gather, and dance and give gifts.  All in commemoration.

The story reminds me of an Old Testament prophesy about the second coming that is fantastically similar:

"But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light" (Zechariah 14:7).

And so a second time the faithful prepare for the coming of Christ.

Waiting for the day.

A day that will bring more and more sorrow and criticism as it draws near.

A day that might bring danger to those who steadfastly look for it.

But it will be a day when the light will shine as a reminder that God always fulfills his promises.

A day when we will be saved.

Another Christmas.

We live in the Christmas Eve of time.

Emily Freeman