Remembering the following counsel from a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf will help me stay focused on the birth of Christ during this busy and festive season.
“Jesus Christ was born in a stable surrounded by lowly animals. He was raised in a disparaged town on the fringes of civilization. He did not go through the pattern of worldly education. He was not trained in worldly schools of philosophy, art, or literature. Some who heard His teachings questioned the origins of His education, saying, ‘How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?’ and they said also, ‘Whence hath this man (his) wisdom? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren . . . and his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?’
“The sophisticated and the proud, those who placed their trust in worldly learning, could not see Him. Jesus the Christ was not wealthy, nor did he hold a political office. He lived and taught among humble people in a nation that was in bondage to the Romans. Therefore He did not seem worthy of notice by the political leaders of the day.... They were far too busy to pay attention to a humble preacher of righteousness. When Jesus stood before Pilate, the powerful Roman governor could see only a teacher who was the cause of a disturbance in his political jurisdiction.
“The wealthy and the influential, those who were caught up in their busy affairs of commerce and government, could not see Him.
“The scribes and Pharisees... were so steeped in their own traditions and so blinded by their own narrow interpretation of scripture that they could not see the humble man who walked among them....
“The self-righteous and unteachable, those whose hearts were closed to the Spirit, could not see Him.
“But who saw Him?
“Simeon, an elderly, devout, and just man, saw the Christ. When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the temple, Simeon knew through the power of the Holy Ghost that this was indeed the Christ, the Son of the Most High. And he took the baby in his arms and blessed Him.
“Humble fishermen and laborers saw Him. The ailing, the humble, and the distraught saw Him and recognized Him as the Salvation of Israel. But there were those among the rich and powerful who were teachable and therefore could see the Christ. Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, saw Him, as did the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea and Zacchaeus the publican....
“Sometimes when we read about people who could not see the Savior for who He was, we marvel at their blindness. But do we also let distractions obstruct our view of the Savior—during this Christmas season and throughout the year? Some are external distractions—the gifts we worry about, the decorations, or the clamorous advertising—but often it is what is inside us that blinds us from seeing the Christ.
“Some may feel a certain level of intellectual aloofness that distances them from Christ. In an age when vast amounts of knowledge are at our fingertips, the familiar story of Jesus the Christ can get lost amid the flood of scientific advances, pressing news, or the latest popular movies or books.
“Some are so caught up in the details of running their lives that they don’t make time for much else. They might pay lip service to the things of the Spirit, but their hearts are so focused on the world that they cannot see the Christ...
“This is a season of rejoicing! A season of celebration! A wonderful time when we acknowledge that our Almighty God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world! To redeem us!
“It is a season of charitable acts of kindness and brotherly love. It is a season of being more reflective about our own lives and about the many blessings that are ours. It is a season of forgiving and being forgiven.
“But perhaps most of all, let it be a season of seeking the Lamb of God, the King of Glory, the Everlasting Light of the World, the Great Hope of Mankind, the Savior and Redeemer of our souls.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Can We See the Christ in Christmas?" December 6, 2009; emphasis added)
I hope throughout this Christmas season and throughout the coming year I will be one who will seek Him.