The Star, the Savior, and Your Heart
Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional
January 10, 2006
I am glad to have this opportunity to address you as you begin your new semester here at BYU–Idaho and as you begin the New Year. The merging of these two beginnings provides a great opportunity for all of us to take a good look at ourselves, evaluate where we are, and think about how we will get where we are going.
If you are like me, this evaluation process has prompted you to make lists of things to work on called New Year’s resolutions. You do this because you want to change something. You want to grow, and you want to make progress in your chosen path of life. As you make these changes and set out on your new course, of one thing you must be certain. That is that you are on the true path. You need to know that the path you walk is on the straight and narrow. In order to do that, you need to be sure that you have the right guide: one that lights the way clearly.
I would like to share with you today something I learned about that Guide and that Light during this Christmas season as I studied and pondered the Christmas story in the scriptures. The Wise Men knew of the birth of the Savior because they saw a star in the East. That star became their guide:
. . . and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him . . . (Matthew 2:9-11).
They found Him because Heavenly Father had prepared for them a star, a new light in the heavens to guide them. They watched and searched and followed the star. Let me tell you what I learned about the star, the Savior, and our hearts.
The star that led the Wise Men to the Savior was real. But it also was symbolic of the light that came into the world with the Savior’s birth. As I searched the scriptures to understand the star, I found two wonderful passages. The first is Revelations 22:16: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things . . . . I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
The Savior is the Light of the World. He is the sure guide for each of us. His light is the guide each one of us may have. I learned that in the second passage, found in 2 Peter 1:16, 19. Here is Peter’s powerful testimony:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
The Savior’s life and His teachings are like light that shines in a dark world. “He marked the path and [leads] the way” (How Great the Wisdom and the Love, Hymns 195). Clearly, if you do as Peter said and “take heed” and follow that light, the Light of Christ that is in you from birth will grow and Heavenly Father will bless you with more light. And as Peter teaches us, the light can grow so bright within you that the day star, the bright and morning star, arises in your heart.
When I first read this scripture, I thought, “What a beautiful idea: the Savior arising in our hearts.” And then I remembered a song I sang as a little girl. The song is called Star Bright. The chorus from the song goes like this:
Oh, star bright—the world is pining
For you to turn night into the day;
Oh, star bright—in Heaven shining
Come glow within me
On Christmas day.
This is exactly what Peter taught. The light of the Savior can glow within us if the Savior is in our hearts.
These are beautiful ideas, and I was grateful to find them. But I was not finished. One night during the holidays I woke up with a thought running through my mind. I had been thinking about the light of the Christmas star and about the day star arising in our hearts. The thought in my mind when I woke up was this: “The day star, the bright and morning star, can only rise in hearts that are pure.” This thought guided me to further reading, and I found another scripture that teaches us that it is only with the Savior’s help that our hearts can be purified in order for Him to dwell there.
In Mosiah 4:2-3 King Benjamin has addressed the people, teaching them of Jesus Christ. They recognize this principle:
And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified . . .
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come . . .
The people believed the words of King Benjamin who prophesied of the coming of Jesus Christ. With faith they asked for mercy and the application of the atoning blood upon them that their “hearts might be purified.” And the star arose in their hearts filling them with joy.
This is the message I would leave with you today: Believe in Christ and in His power to purify your hearts through the application of the Atonement to forgive you of sin so that the day star, the Savior of the World, the bright and morning star, may arise in your hearts and be your guide as you walk the path of life. If you do that, you will begin this year with much, much more than New Year’s resolutions. You will walk the true path. May the joy available through doing so fill your hearts is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.