The painting below is called Journey to Bethlehem by Joseph Brickey. I first saw it when I was touring the not yet dedicated Temple in Rexburg, Idaho with a friend. It stopped me in my tracks. The rest of the group moved on without us while I just breathed in that moment. I've always loved paintings depicting this pivotal moment in the great plan of our Heavenly Father, and this painting, with its lighting and facial expressions, moved me across the room. One of these days it will hang in my house. I've noticed it can be found in several Temples now. Just a few weeks ago, Emilie and I went through the Provo Temple, and there it was as I came through some parted curtains. When I stopped to stare, the old guys in there, finding me lost and confused, kept gesturing the way I should go. They pointed toward the Celestial Room. A few minutes later, sitting next to Emilie on a soft, white couch, I thought of the Christmas song, O Holy Night. It's my favorite because of this line:
"Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
Someday I plan to be included in that crowd that will fall on their knees in His holy presence, and hear the angels singing about my love for Him. I was going to write 'I hope to be included...', but 'plan to be included' seemed closer to the actual application of the scriptural use of the word hope.
4. Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God. (Book of Mormon, Ether 12: 4, copied and pasted from http://www.lds.org/)
Thanks for listening -JB