On this day after Christmas, with the celebration behind us and the prospect of a new year before us, we have a moment to catch our breath and contemplate "How we can better envision the greatness and status of our Lord?"
Who is this Son of God whose birth we've just celebrated?
The search is a lifelong quest demanding our greatest devotion.
In the spirit of this past season, it has been our desire to celebrate that Being who is "infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting," the same unchangeable God who framed the heaven and earth and all things which are in them. (See Doctrine and Covenants 20:17).
Our Savior, as the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, is omnipotent and supreme. He has all power, all knowledge, all truth and all wisdom. He possesses all Godly attributes in their divine perfection. There is no quality of charity, love, honesty, justice, mercy or judgment that He does not possess in its divine perfection.
In the final and all-comprehensive sense, this quest exceeds our ability to understand. The only way to find and know our Savior is to do as He and His prophets have said — keep the commandments. Such knowledge comes only as the Holy Ghost reveals. The more obedient a person is, the clearer his views become, the nearer he approaches God, the more he knows those he seeks to serve.
To envision His greatness, then, "We must love Him. We must serve Him. We must offer our absolute commitment to Him. We must follow Him obediently with all of our might, mind and strength," said Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy (New Era, December 2009).
Speaking in the October 2009 General Conference, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve said, "You may already know, deep in your soul, that God lives. You may not know all about Him yet and do not understand all His ways, but the light of belief is within you, waiting to be awakened and intensified by the Spirit of God and the Light of Christ, which you are born with.
"So come. Believe the testimonies of the prophets. Learn of God and Christ. The pattern to do so is clearly taught by prophets of old and prophets today.
"Cultivate a diligent desire to know that God lives.
"This desire leads us to ponder on the things of heaven — to let the evidence of God all around us touch our hearts.
"With softened hearts we are prepared to heed the Savior's call to 'search the scriptures' and to humbly learn from them.
"We are then ready to ask our Heavenly Father sincerely, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, if the things we have learned are true. Most of us will not see God, as the prophets have, but the still, small promptings of the Spirit — the thoughts and feelings that the Holy Ghost brings into our minds and hearts — will give us an undeniable knowledge that He lives and that He loves us.
"Gaining this knowledge is ultimately the quest of all God's children on the earth. If you cannot remember believing in God, or if you have ceased to believe, or if you believe but without real conviction, I invite you to seek a testimony of God now. Do not be afraid of ridicule. The strength and peace that come from knowing God and having the comforting companionship of His Spirit will make your efforts eternally worthwhile."
Envisioning His greatness includes learning of His mercy and graciousness, how He is slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness, as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Lectures on Faith.
"Unless we can rely on these unchanging attributes," said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, "we will never have the faith necessary to claim the blessings of heaven. If we cannot count on 'the excellency of … character' (that is the Prophet Joseph's phrase) maintained by the Savior and his willingness and ability to 'forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin,' we will be, he said, 'in constant doubt of salvation. …'
"Reliance upon the forgiving, long-suffering, merciful nature of God was taught from before the very foundation of the world. It was always to give us hope and help, a reason to progress and improve, an incentive to lay down our burdens and take up our salvation.
"May I be bold enough to suggest that it is impossible for anyone who really knows God to doubt his willingness to receive us with open arms in a divine embrace if we will but 'come unto Him.' There certainly can and will be plenty of external difficulties in life; nevertheless, the soul that comes unto Christ dwells within a personal fortress, a veritable palace of perfect peace. …
"Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion, Christ is not going to turn his back on us now" (Come unto Me," Ensign, April 1998).