Could it be true? These days keep sneaking up on me. Today is my youngest grandson’s first birthday. What a wonderful day, what a wonderful month.
The Atonement. And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 5:18
I have always loved the story of the six-yearold boy who wanted a bicycle. He knew that a bicycle cost a lot of money and so he asked his mother if there were chores he could do to earn money. His mother assigned him chores and paid him a quarter for taking out the trash and fifty cents for washing the car. He helped his neighbor weed the flower beds and the neighbor paid him a dollar. Every penny went into the boy’s bicycle bottle. He looked for ways to earn money and he added it to the bottle. He would count the money from time to time, until one day he had just over twenty dollars.
Surely twenty dollars would be enough for a bike. He had worked so hard. He talked to his dad and told him he had saved up and wanted to buy a bicycle. He asked his father if he would take him to the store. His dad who was aware of all his son had done said, “Sure,” and off they went.
Part of the reason I like this story so much I think is because I remember as a second grader saving up a whole dollar. I took my money and went to the store planning to buy a Mickey Mouse watch. I was surprised that a dollar wasn’t enough and I remember the disappointment I felt at the time.
Like me when they got to the bike shop the little boy was shocked at the price of the bicycles. They were hundreds of dollars. There was no way he could buy a bike. He couldn’t work enough to earn the money for a bike. As he turned to leave the store his father asked him why he was so sad. “Dad I will never be able to earn the money for a bike,” he explained sadly.
The father looked at his son and said, “If you will give me everything you have, plus a hug and a kiss, I will pay the rest.”
The boy could see that was a good bargain and he went home with a bicycle.
What the father asks from his son is what Christ asks of each one of us. We want to return to live with our Heavenly Father. But despite our efforts we cannot get there by ourselves. It is through the atonement that Jesus Christ asks us to give everything we have, our whole heart, and promises he will pay the rest. In fact he has already paid.
As we celebrate Christ’s birth at Christmas, I am grateful for his greatest gift, the gift that allows us to return to the presence of our Father. A bicycle is pretty good, but the Atonement is the greatest gift.