Sunday, December 23, 2012


Kathleen and I wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas and pray that peace and joy will abide in your home always.

This week my thoughts have been centered on the night the Savior of the world came to dwell among men.

Have you ever wondered how different the history of the world would have been if the Baby Jesus had never been born? Have you ever wondered how different the world we live in would be if the Baby Jesus had never been born?
Have you ever wondered how different your life would be if the Baby Jesus had never been born?

Although my wonderings are far from exhaustive on this Theme of Themes, I offer the following as a springboard to your own wonderings.

If the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night:

There would be no wondering about the Annunciation and the miraculous birth which resulted.

There would be no wondering about the Magi or the wondrous star they followed in the eastern sky which beamed down on Bethlehem.

There would be no remembrance of shepherds having heard angels sing as they tended their flocks across the arroyo from that blessed village.

There would be no shrine in Bethlehem covering the grotto where the Redeemer of mankind was once swaddled.

There would be no marveling about the One who maneuvered through life’s trials without sin, moving ever steadily toward perfection.

There would be no reading about the best and worst of man’s acts down through history having been done in His name.

There would never have been disciples willing to live to witness of His divinity and willing to die as a sealing act to their testimonies.

There would never have been a single soul expressing gratefulness for His Atonement which opened the gates unto Eternal Life.

If the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night:

Our nights of December would be void of sparkle and brightness.

We would have no Black Friday, Cyber Monday nor shopping till you drop.

We would not see red suited Santas, elves dressed in green or toys fulfilling the imaginations of boys and girls of all ages.

We would not have brightly decorated trees topped with angels or stars taking center stage in our homes.

We would not have spent time adorning mantles with manger scenes or hours putting up miniature villages on table tops.

We would have no memories of overnight trips to be with family and feasting on goodies for days on end.

We would not have those sleepless nights ushering in gleeful mornings spent ripping into packages ad then marveling at how soon the anticipated moment passed.

We would not have been little shepherds tripping on lengthy robes, angels with halos askew, or boys and girls forever remembering that we were Joseph or Mary as the words of Luke were read.

We would not have joined with joyful listeners to hear seasonal choirs filling halls with carols from around the world.

If the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night:

My life would have had less meaning and purpose and I would have wandered without a guiding light.

My days would have had more moments of stress and anxiety and fewer times of peace and happiness.

My feelings about marriage and family would have been altered dramatically and I might never have known the blessedness of unconditional love.

My reasoning leading to choices would have been founded on a different set of values, therefore leading to very different outcomes in my life.

My fears in life based on uncertainty would have increased and my hopes in life would have been dimmed.

My faith that in and through the Lord Jesus the Christ salvation and resurrection are a reality would not have sustained me.

I have left space between sections so that, if you wish you might add your own wonderings about how different life would be if the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night.

I would be grateful if you would include a reply to me as you add your wonderings.


  1. ¡Gracias Presidente Riley... por su reflexiones... Nosotros también le deseamos un año 2013 con muchas bendiciones. Esperamos que haya pasado una feliz navidad.

    Reciba un abrazo....

    Fidel Castro A.

  2. Querido hermano y hermana Riley:Gracias por sus pensamientops cada semana.Realmente nos inspiran y hacen meditar.
    Si el niño Dios no hubiera nacido:
    1. Los Profetas del antiguo testamento,como Isaias, Moises, Jeremias ,Miqueas,serian tildados de mentirosos porque sus profesias sobre el Mesias no se hubieran cumplido.
    2. Tendriamos otro calendario.Pues a pesar de lo imperfecto del calendario del papa Gregorio, este fue basado en la fecha aproximada del nacimiento de nuestro Salvador Jesucristo.
    3. El Gran plan de salvacion no se hubiera desarrollado y la humanidad seria sin espertanza de ser mejor,no habria redencion de la muerte fisica ni espiritual.
    4.El mundo estaria en oscuridad espiritual y mi familia no seria feliz.Posiblemente mi mayordomia como padre seria diferente.
    Reciban un abrazo y gracias por su amistad y hermandad.
    Armando & Chela Gomez

  3. Muchas gracias presidente este mensaje y cada uno de los pensamientos recibidos me han ayudado y fortalecido mi fe en el Señor JESUCRITO. Que el 2013 sea lleno de bendiciones para ti y toda tu familia

    miguel angel barrientos torres

  4. Gracias por su mensaje...
    Feliz Navidad...

    Jairo David Machado

  5. Gracias Bill
    Feliz año

    Gilma preciado

  6. Feliz Navidad Bill and Kathy. Que Dios siempre les siga bendiciendo en sus vidas y la de su familia. Un abrazo.
    El Duro!

    Andres Ayalla

  7. Thank you Bill, The best to you and Kathleen this holiday season, and in the new year.

    Tom Borgquist

  8. Dear Brother Riley, Feliz Navidad! As far as adding to the awesome list, I would not have the privilege of standing amazed while singing with stake choir "Hallejuha!" And I would not have the privilege of reading your weekly thoughts, prompting me to meditate and then become a better person.

    I leave on 31st of December for a month's stay in Guatemala. I can hardly wait to be among the special angelic children there whom I love with all my heart. How blessed I am!

    May your Christmas be filled with light and joy. May your New Year bring you added health and happiness.

    Con amor,

    Bonnie Lynn


  9. Gracias, hermoso mensaje.

    Miguel Angel Garcia Lòpez

  10. It's very simple. I would be lost.

    Thanks for the perspective and ideas to ponder.

    Merry Christmas, my friend.

    Words from Wendy Cecil

  11. Bill,
    Interesting that I just yesterday I had a discussion with my older brother about how restricting (I feel) that the assurance of a dogma can have on one's imagination. You as he are blessed with great imagination.

    Paul Maddox

  12. Once again, you have sent a great thought to share with our live in missionaries for Family Home Evening! And, may the holiday season bring you the very best blessings as you do appreciate the gift of His Son as Exemplar, and Savior. Our love and appreciation with you and Kathleen always.

    Jean Seavey