“He Did It”: A Christmas Message

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A number of years ago, my home teacher, John Wright, stopped by to see me, unannounced. As we talked, he said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about what it was like when we were in that meeting in heaven where God said that he would choose the Savior.”

We talked a little bit about that, and then John left.

A few weeks later, I had a wonderful dream about that question. Sometimes my brain just has a dream that could never be realized, but this particular dream was a purposeful dream that really changed my life. Of course, I could never say what I saw in my dream is what this meeting in heaven was. But it truly has helped me think about my relationship with my Savior in a deeper way.

I was at the meeting when God announced his plan, and then Satan announced an alternative plan. And God said that he would implement his plan. I remember we felt a real worry in all our minds because the question was, “That’s a great idea to send us to Earth, to experience the options of choosing right and wrong.” Our concern was, “What will happen if we don’t choose the right?” Then in my dream I saw one man amongst us — Jesus Christ — who stood up and said, “Send me!” He explained that, if we sin, it will be okay because, he said, “I will go, and I will live the perfect life, and, at the end of my life, I will take upon myself the suffering that all your sins might have created.”

I saw my friends and family were relieved the Savior would do that for us. But then in a similar way, I began to feel apprehension. “This is a great deal for us, but what’s going to happen if the Savior comes down to Earth, and he doesn’t live a perfect life? And what would happen if, when he comes to the end of his life, he decides not to go through with it and decides not to take our suffering upon himself, onto his shoulders. What’s going to happen to us then?”

Then I saw in my dream the Savior standing up again, and with the kindest, gentlest voice I can imagine, he said to us, “It’s okay. I will do what I have promised I would do. And if you’ll only accept me, I will do [Page 12]what I planned to do right now. I will do what I said I would do. And your responsibility will be to accept me.”

I remember the feeling in my heart, in this dream, at that time, that what he asked me to do was to have faith in him that he would do what he promised to do.

Then in my dream I saw that the meeting finished, and everybody went to do whatever was on his or her agenda. I looked, and there was the Savior standing alone. I realized that he was the only man who stood and offered himself to be the sacrifice for the rest of us, and he was standing there alone. I thought to myself, “What can I do to thank him? Should I go shake his hand and say, ‘Thanks’?” I realized that the way I can say thanks to the man whose sacrifice would give me eternal life would be if I can stand next to him and commit that I will do everything I can to help God’s plan work, and he can trust me, that I will do what I have committed to do. And then my dream ended.

It has changed my life because it has helped me to frame the commitment I have to the Savior that I will do everything I can to bring souls unto him.

I think of this dream over and over again, every time Christmas happens. I’m grateful that everybody I meet actually accepted Christ once when we were at that meeting in heaven. We all accepted Jesus, and we expressed our faith in him that he would do what he promised he would do. Now we’re on this Earth, and he did what he said he would do. All we have to do is to have faith that he did it. At Christmas time, I wish to tell everybody that I know that he did it and that we have accepted him. Now all we have to do is have the faith that he did it. I give you my testimony that he did, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.[Page 13]

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About Clayton M. Christensen

Clayton Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. In 2011 in a poll of thousands of executives, consultants, and business school professors, Christensen was named as the most influential business thinker in the world. He is the best-selling author of nine books and more than a hundred articles. His first book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, received the Global Business Book Award as the best business book of the year (1997); in 2011 The Economist named it as one of the six most important books about business ever written. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Christensen served as full-time missionary for the LDS Church in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973. He has since served in many church callings, including service in the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years as a scoutmaster, cubmaster, den leader, and troop and pack committee chairman. He and his wife Christine live in Belmont, Massachusetts. They are the parents of five children and grandparents to five grandchildren.

8 thoughts on ““He Did It”: A Christmas Message

  1. I really liked this. Revelation 12:11 seems appropriate. “And they overcame him (the dragon) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their own lives unto the death.” In the preexistence we overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb which had not yet been shed. We’ve been practicing faith for a long time.

  2. I’ve been a huge fan of both Clayton Christensen and John Wright ever since I was a kid in their ward back in the 1970s. Even then, 40 years ago, I knew there was something special about them, and that intuition has been borne out handsomely since.

    This brief essay by Clay brought forcefully to my mind the final verse of one of my favorite Christmas songs, “In the Bleak Midwinter”:

    What can I give Him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
    If I were a wise man, I would do my part —
    Yet what can I give Him? Give, give my heart.

    That phrase — what can I give Him, poor as I am? — is often on my mind, especially at Christmastime. There is so little I’m capable of giving to my Savior, in virtually every sense. But I can give Him what I have, which is my heart and my will. Doing so is tough, of course, because I’m a willful and selfish and vulgar man. So I’m deeply grateful for the Christmas season and the opportunity it gives me to redouble my efforts at making that gift to Him.

    • Thank you, Rick, you have described how I feel so often, and how my 7 year old son feels. He told me he wants to give Jesus a gift, after much reflection he looked at me with sadness and said, “I don’t know what to give Him, nothing I have is good enough.” This is good FHE fodder.

      Happy New Year!

  3. Elder Christensen’s wonderful testimony brought to mind Revelation 12:10 wherein Satan is given the title, “the accuser of our brethren,” because in the pre-mortal realm, “he accused them before our God day and night.” The question has to be asked, “Of what could Satan possibly accuse the brethren in our pre-earth state?” Of sin? Of course not. But Elder Christensen’s expressed quandary, “what’s going to happen if the Savior comes down to Earth, and he doesn’t live a perfect life?” gives a possible answer.
    I believe that very question is the most likely accusation of the adversary: “What if he can’t do it? What if he can’t live a perfect life? All he has to do is make one tiny mistake: lose his temper and slap a pharisee, for example, and the whole plan is destroyed. Are you willing to take that risk?” He could have made similar accusations about others of the brethren: Noah’s inability to build the ark, Moses’ failure to stand up to Pharaoh, or Joseph Smith’s inability to stand up against the mob. Any of them, however, could conceivably have been replaced, but not the Savior. His was an all or nothing calling. Everything hung on him, as the “Nail in the Sure Place” (Isaiah 22:23).
    Two thoughts grow out of this idea. First, that every person who elected to come to this earth was taking an amazing risk. The Savior’s possible failure would have resulted in irreversible exposure to both physical and spiritual death (see 2 Nephi 9:8-9). What great faith each and every one of us must have had in God, his plan, and our Savior. That tells us something profound about each mortal soul.
    Second, what an amazing individual the Firstborn of the Father must have been to have earned such a level of trust from us! To have put such trust in any other of Heavenly Father’s children would clearly have been disastrous. But Christ’s character and attributes were such that we could see him accomplishing such a feat as to live a life worthy of being offered up as “a sinless sacrifice for guilt, a dying world to save.” Truly he must have been, even in his pre-mortal state, “full of grace and truth!” (2 Nephi 2:6).
    Thank-you, Elder Christensen for your inspiring thoughts.

  4. Not a dream, just pondering the pre-existence I have felt the same as I have tried to figure out why any of our brothers and sisters would have followed Lucifer — and that was it! Somehow he had convinced them that Christ would fail in His mission on Earth. Our faith in Christ began there and must continue here. All of our Father-in-Heaven’s children who have been born into mortality began their journey with faith in Christ. May we be able to bring them all to their senses before that great and terrible day is my prayer!

  5. Thank you so much Brother Christensen for this wonderful article. I have already read it with my wife and share it with many family members and friends. Thanks for your testimony and your willingness to share a personal experience that has already blessed my life.

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