by Lynn Ridenhour
It's that time of year again. A time to love. A time to be a child again. A time to
accept everyone & everything. It's time for the Christmas Story.
We all know it. And it's a blessed theme.
May I put a new spin on it?...
Much of the symbolism of the Christmas story, I believe, wraps around one of my
favorite personsJoseph Smith, Jr. Take, for instance, the star. Wise men from
the east looked for this sign to appear in the heavens.
And the star must appear at an appointed time. It must appear on the darkest night of
the year. Which happens to be, by the way, December 23rd. Joseph Smith was born on
December 23rd--the darkest night of the year. The Egyptians referred to this night as the
It was believed among the ancient Egyptians that the purpose of earth life was to
prepare for eternal life with the Gods in the world to come. Everything that was, had been
before. There was nothing "...new under the sun." Every person simply had to
find his place on the celestial stairway, pass the guardian angels and find his way back
into celestial glory.
I submit--Joseph is that Star which leads a dark world out of "Winter
Solstice"-- back to the Christ child. He's the guardian messenger who has the
revelations, the hidden mysteriesthat lead us back into celestial glory.
Especially in our dispensation, for so many grand truths were lost in the reformation.
December 23rdWinter SolsticeJoseph Smiththe Star on
that dark nightand the Christmas Story. I can see the symbolism.
Wise men from the east were called magi, or grand magi. Wise men from the grand orient
lodge will follow that star until they find the babe wrapped in his stable. There was no
room for the babe in the Inn (or lodge). No room for the Master in other lodges, so he was
born among the common folks of his day. Nothing has changed
There will be those of us who will follow the Master out of all lodges of perfection,
even in our dayout of all false plans of salvation. They will be known as wise
men who will follow the star that leads them to the Inn where the babe lies in a manger.
Joseph Smith, Jr. was one of the Wise Men of his day. I want to be one of the Wise Men
of my day. I'm sure the same can be said of all of us. We want to be wise.
Wherein lies wisdom? It's found in the simplicity of the Christmas Story. It's said of
the three wise men--they were learned men of the east, schooled in astronomy and the signs
of the stars. Yet these three wise men followed their hearts that night and found the Gift
of Love. They laid aside their wisdom and found His. They embraced the simplicity of the
story. The Christmas Story is a simple story. Even a child understands. It's we adults who
I love Joseph Smith, for he had a simple mind. (He was not simple-minded.) He played
with children. He loved simple things. And he restored the simple gospellove
your neighbor as yourself. It takes a wise man to remain simple.
Jesus said an interesting thing during his sermon on the mount; "...consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow...and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Mt. 6:28,29).
He made reference to the "...lilies of the field," and then made reference to
Solomon. Solomon, in his writings, also referred to the same flower. Hymns have been
written about Solomon's classic statement, "...I AM therose of Sharon and the lily of
the valleys" (Song of Solomon 2:1). As a young lad growing up in a small Baptist
Church back in the hills of the Ozarks, I heard many a sermon preached on Jesus as the
lily of the valley and the Rose of Sharon. I've sung the hymn "Lily of the
Valley" many times.
Let me suggest another possible meaning. Joseph Smith was born on December 23rd, 1805,
in Sharon, Vermont. The word "rose" means "secret unfolding." The Rose
of Sharon is often the emblem for secret brotherhood. It's used as an emblem in many
I believe Joseph Smith is the Rose of Sharon. His teachings are like secrets unfolded.
Like roses. Like Jesus and his sermons, you either get it or you don't. You're either part
of His "wise brotherhood" who spread the simplicity of the gospel around, or you
don't. Like the three wise men, you've either exchanged your worldly wisdom for his, or
you haven't. Perhaps you too have decided to follow your heart--and have found the
greatest story ever told. The Gift of Love in a manger, wrapped in all its plainness. You
either have a revelation of the kingdom of God on this earth, or you don't. You either
speak well of Joseph Smith, or you don't. You'll either come out of all other lodges and
embrace the Rose of Sharon, embrace his secret unfoldings, and start spreading the gospel
of simplicityor you won't. Yes, I believe Joseph Smith was the Rose of Sharon.
He was also the Lily of the Valleys. The flower lily is white as white can be. It's
known for its whiteness. The lily stands for purity and innocence. Joseph's heart, I
believe, was both pure and innocent. Like a child's. Those who have sat under his
teachings and who have watched him unfold his secrets, they have seen his white heart. And
the lily grows in the valley. So did Joseph. His life was one of trials, trails,
temptations and tears. He grew in the valley. And so do we.
Well, Jesus said, "...Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
these."...one of these?..."
Like one of those who follows the Rose of Sharon and his teachings of Jesus Christ.
It's the Gift of Love wrapped in all its simplicity.