A Christmas story from China

By Dan Cravens

Each and every year as Christmas time approaches many people focus on the hustle and bustle of the season.  Long shopping lists confront many, as the quest for the perfect gift becomes all consuming.  Our senses become saturated with the TV ads, flyers, and sales we encounter during the weeks that lead up to Christmas Day.

The gifts, get-togethers, treats, and fancy meals are nice, and can be sometimes symbolic of the deeper meaning of Christmas.  Many of the gifts and acts of kindness during the Christmas season give evidence of the true meaning of the holiday which is about: life, love, and sacrifice. However, all too often the true meaning of Christmas is lost.

The Christmas story starts well before the nativity in Bethlehem.  The need for Christmas began in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit.  Because of Adam and Eve’s action both sin and death entered the world, and mankind could no longer stand in the presence of our Heavenly Father.  Without a Savior and an atonement for the sins of mankind the human race would have been doomed to death and damnation.

The birth of Jesus Christ is the great gift to all of mankind we celebrate on Christmas.  As stated in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

The gift of the Savior to us is the proof of our Heavenly Father’s love for his children.  Heavenly Father gave his only begotten son, so each of us might have the opportunity to be saved.  The Savior’s great love is echoed in John 15:3 when he himself states, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The Savior gave up his life.  This act of supreme love allows us to have eternal life.

A recent story from China exemplifies the love and sacrifice which embodies the spirit of Christmas.  A young woman, a promising television anchor named Qio Yuanyuan, realized her lifelong dream.  Qio discovered that she, and her husband, were about to become parents.

However, joy soon to turned to sorrow.  Qio discovered she was suffering from advanced cancer.  In order to survive she would have to undergo chemotherapy which would not only treat the cancer, but end of the life of her unborn child.

It is likely many Qio’s friends, colleagues, and maybe even family members urged her to treat her cancer.  They probably pointed out that there would be other opportunities to have children, no doubt she was reminded by others of her promising career in the media which had to look forward to in the many coming years.

It would have been indeed understandable if Qio had chosen to pursue chemotherapy.  She might have well thought: Why give up my life, and all the opportunity I have worked so hard for?

Our Heavenly Father might have also logically asked:  Why give up my son to save mankind?   The Savior could have also asked a similar question:  Why give up my life for a human race which is so full of sin and corruption?

Qio, like our Heavenly Father and the Savior choose sacrifice, in order to give life to those they loved.

Qio’s life ended 100 days after she gave birth.  Her husband states that Qio had not regrets with her sacrifice.  In fact her sacrifice seems to given a true purpose to her life.

Qio’s sacrifice of course is not on the same magnitude of the Savior’s.  Given that Qio lived in China it is not probable that she was a Christian.  However, her story teaches us much about the nature of love, and the true lesson Christmas tries to teach us each year.

Merry Christmas.

Dan Cravens lives in Blackfoot and is a member of the Blackfoot 10th LDS Ward.