"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father-- That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (Written by Joseph Smith Jr. in the Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24)
This is our testimony to all mankind. It is our gift and blessing to the world. He is our joy and our salvation, and we will find Christmas of greater meaning in our own lives as we share these truths with others.
What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ? Learn of him. Search the scriptures for they are they which testify of him. Ponder the miracle of his life and mission. Try a little more diligently to follow his example and observe his teachings. Bring the Christ back into Christmas."
(Gordon B. Hinckley, "What Shall I Do Then with Jesus Which Is Called Christ?" Ensign, Dec. 1983)
I love Christmas with all of its special, magical moments. With scented candles, carolers singing praises and making our hearts swell with their voices. I love the excitement in my children's eyes, and their fun 'secrets' as they wrap gifts for siblings that we saved for in the 'doggy bank'. The cookies of course, are so delicious, more so than if I eat them in the Spring using the same recipes. I also enjoy being a child again as I help color Christmas pictures and wrap presents, even more enjoyable now that I can teach my children to bake and to make ornaments and to give to others... they know that if they don't have any money for gifts, that's ok, and they can always give a smile and a kind word or share a funny story to cheer someone up.
I watched my youngest carefully unwrap the baby Jesus for the Creche we display every year in our living room. Her eyes lit up. She knows Jesus is someone very special, that He is our Savior, a wonderful person, and that the whole reason we have a Christmas celebration is so we can honor His birth.
For a few moments, I would like to take you away from the hustle and bustle of this world, back through the centuries to a small stable in Bethlehem of Judea, just about 2,000 years ago. You can almost hear a newborn's cry, and the cattle making soft lowing sounds. Sniff the air, and smell the sweet hay where this precious new baby will sleep wrapped warmly in cloths made into swaddling clothes. He feels safe and secure as his mother nurses him and shares the tired joy all new mothers feel as their baby softly molds into their arms...
Luke 2: 1-7
if there will ever be 'room' for Christ in our lives? When He
alive, there was no room for him in the Inns of Bethlehem, nor in the
hearts and lives of many where
He resided. They scoffed at Him, spit upon Him, and scorned Him then
Him and His message. Do we do the same today?
"44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
The Star of Bethlehem not only appeared in the Old World of Jerusalem, but it also shone brightly over the New World, over the Americas, where descendants of a family who escaped from Jerusalem (about 600 BC) to inhabit the Americas, saw it and knew of its meaning. The Lamanite prophet in the Americas, Samuel predicted"
We read in The Book of Mormon (Helaman 14:1-8)
1 AND now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written.
2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.
7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.
8 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.
Here are a few ways to help welcome Christ into your Christmas this year:
1) Read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2 in the New Testament) for your kids on Christmas Eve.
2) Make a special cake for Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve and sing Happy Birthday to him before you all enjoy it. If you don't have children, you can still do this. Have a group of friends over, play and sing Christmas Carols, then have cake.
3) Write a special resolution list this year for the new year. Write down all the things you want to do for Jesus in the coming year.
4) Quietly read your favorite scriptures about Jesus and the good things he did. Underline them or write them down in a notebook. Have your children or grandchildren draw pictures of Jesus.
5) Find a charity to donate time, money, or talents. Make a scarf, hat, or pair of mittens, for a shelter near you! Perhaps choose a new one each month if you can.
6) Attend a Christmas Eve church service.
7) Sing 'Silent Night, Holy Night' with your children before you tuck them in on Christmas Eve.
8) Play Holiday music while you bake together. Children and grandchildren LOVE to help make cookies!
9) Place a 'Nativity/Creche' where all the family can see it several times a day.
10) Take some Homemade Bread, or cocoa mix to an elderly person in your neighborhood, and when you deliver it, sing some Christmas Carols with your family.
The Symbols of Christ in Christmas
Gift Giving:The most probable source of our modern gift-giving is the fact that the Wise-Men brought gifts to Jesus.
This figure originates from the legend of St. Nicholas, Bishop of
It is said that he was a young wealthy man who gave freely to those
fortunate. He preferred to receive no credit, so he visited
if the poor at night so no one would recognise him.
Christmas Trees: I've read many stories about the origin of the use of Christmas Trees, but my favorite is a beautiful European tale supposedly told by an Arabian name Georg Jacob. On the night Jesus Christ was born, it was said, all the trees in the forests around the world, blossomed for one night, and bore pretty fruit. Of course, the evergreen tree also represents how Eternal the Father's love is for all His children.
Candles: They are the symbolic of the Light of Christ. In medieval times a story was told of how on Christmas Eve, the Christ Child wandered throughout the world looking for places where he would be welcomed. Those who loved him, hoping he would find their homes, placed lighted candle in their windows.
Bell Ringing: This is a beloved custom that began in Medieval times. On Christmas Eve when bells would toll to warn the Devil of the imminent birth of Jesus, who would save the world from darkness. The bells would toll for an hour before midnight and at the stroke of twelve, a joyous pealing of the bells would announce the birth of the Savior.
Many more of our symbols are obvious in their meanings, such as the STAR representing the Star of Bethlehem; the ANGEL representing the Angel of the Lord who appeared to the humble shepherds; and the WREATH made of evergreen boughs and formed into a circle, both standing for the Eternal love that out Heavenly Father has for each of us; and each of the symbols we use in our homes can remind us, and our little ones, of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
May we all make room for Jesus Christ in our lives and in the lives of our family members. May He become our main focus at this Christmas season and always in the future, by the things we do, and the way we treat others all year long. I know that Christ lives today, the Baby of Bethlehem, now the Risen Lord. He and his Eternal Father love and care for each of us in a most wonderful way. May we strive to love others as they love us...
For more beautiful Christmas sentiments CLICK HERE
Christmas Peace, Joy and Love from Bev Qualheim and her family - Mike; Shaun (and Jackson); Christopher & Danielle (and Owen and Joren and 'baby'); Timothy & Lyra (and Cody, Abi, Mikey and Phin); Patricia, Laurent and Amelia; and Katie Marie.
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