Take a look at the big picture

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

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One individual we lost in 2020 was actor Sean Connery.

Best known for playing superspy James Bond, Connery also won our hearts in roles as Robin Hood, Henry Jones (father of Indiana Jones) and Chicago beat cop Jim Malone in “The Untouchables,” for which he won an Oscar in 1988.

Connery once told an interviewer that, unlike many actors who only review parts of the script where their character appears, he liked to read the entire script. This gave him greater insight into his character’s role in the big picture.

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As the year closes, and especially as we commemorate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, let’s review the big picture.

The big picture goes by many names: the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness and the plan of mercy. Understanding God’s plan for His children can give us perspective and peace in troubling times.

God is the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9; Acts 17:28-29). Because God is our Father, we are all brothers and sisters.

As our Heavenly Father, God knew each of us before we were born, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.” (Jeremiah 1:5).

We are blessed with the gift of agency, the ability to choose wrong or right, and by our actions each day we choose whom we will serve. (Joshua 24:15).

In this life, we have the opportunity to move along the covenant path toward God by being “born of water and of the Spirit,” or receiving baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. (John 3:5).

One day we shall each be accountable to Jesus Christ for the choices we made in this life. (Romans 14:10; Acts 10:42).

The plan is perfect. Alas, we are not. We each sin and fall short of God’s glory and His great expectations for us (Romans 3:23).

Which brings us to the great gift which God gave to us: His only begotten Son, the Savior of the world. (John 3:16). Jesus makes God’s plan work.

Through repentance, we access the power of the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Christ’s grace and mercy, we can find forgiveness and be cleansed from our sins and shortcomings. (Proverbs 28:13; 2 Corinthians 7:10).

This is the good news of the Gospel. Through His Son, our loving Heavenly Father prepared the way to return to our heavenly home.

In this life, Jesus taught, our responsibility is clear. If we love Him, we must keep His commandments. (John 14:15).

What are the commandments? To the lawyer, Jesus taught: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:35-40).

As we celebrate His birth, remember the cheerful words of our Savior, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Merry Christmas to all!

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.