“The Light of the World,” Friend, Dec. 2012, 44–45
Erin stood on Temple Square in Salt Lake City looking at life-sized statues of the nativity scene and waiting for the music and story to begin. Christmas lights twinkled all around her. But it didn’t feel like Christmastime.
“Are you all right?” Mom asked her.
Erin nodded, but she wasn’t so sure.
Only a few days ago, a boy from Erin’s class at school had died in a car accident. She had seen a lot of people crying at the funeral, and she had cried a lot herself. She hadn’t known the boy that well, but Erin knew his family loved him as much as her family loved her. She felt scared to know that something like that could happen to someone her age.
Now she didn’t feel excited for Christmas. She felt worried all the time—scared to get in a car, scared to be apart from her parents, scared to leave her house in case something bad happened to her while she was away. All the Christmas lights on Temple Square couldn’t erase the worried feeling inside her. How could she be happy in a world where she wasn’t always safe?
“It’s about to start,” Dad said. He pointed to the nativity scene.
The loudspeakers crackled to life, and a voice began speaking. Music played, and spotlights shone down on statues of shepherds, Wise Men, Mary, and Joseph. Erin listened to the familiar story. The baby Jesus was born and lay in a manger. Angels sang. Shepherds worshipped. Wise Men rejoiced.
Erin looked at the faces of her parents and the crowd gathered around the nativity scene. They all seemed happy. But why was everyone so happy about the baby Jesus if His birth didn’t stop bad things from happening? Erin didn’t like the question circling through her head. All she wanted was to stop feeling afraid.
The story ended, and a recording of the prophet’s voice came over the loudspeaker. He bore his testimony and read a scripture from the Bible: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Erin’s heart beat faster. She said the words again in her mind, trying to remember them. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
The scripture said that everyone would die—young people, old people—everyone. Erin knew that, of course, but she hadn’t thought about it much before. She thought she was too young to think about such things. But she wasn’t too young to have a testimony of the truth: because of Jesus Christ, everyone would live again. That’s why the shepherds and Wise Men rejoiced. They understood what Jesus had come to earth to do.
Erin looked from the little stable to a window in the visitors’ center behind the nativity scene. Inside the building a light shone on a large statue of Jesus stretching out His scarred hands. Erin thought about the little baby in the manger and how He grew into someone who had all power. And yet He chose to sacrifice His life for her. He had been born so she could live again. No matter what happened, Erin could feel safe in Jesus’s love.
Peace washed over her. She couldn’t quite explain how, but her worry disappeared. When she looked at the statue of Jesus Christ, shining brighter than twinkling Christmas lights, she barely noticed the dark night sky. She was too busy feeling the warmth of hope flickering inside her.