I am so excited to speak on Christmas Sunday I have always wanted to and am way excited to be able to teach out of the Old and New Testament today!
Christmas cay pulls a very close second place to Easter for me. My family has gotten a little obsessed with the celebration of Easter and we do a very fun whole week long celebration for that holiday! Gordon B. Hinckley said “There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the resurrection.
I believe it is a FACT that Christ was born of Mary in Bethlehem and he came to fulfill all the prophesies foretold of him. He came to redeem the world because he loves all of us.
Isaiah prophesied many things about our Savior. In chapter 7:14 we find that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.
Russell M. Nelson gives one of my favorite thoughts on scripture when he says “Fulfillment of that prophesy was not just unlikely it was humanly impossible. Incredible! Everyone knew that a virgin could not bear a child. And then for that child to be given such a pretentious name was doubly daring. The Hebrew name which Isaiah prophesied Immanuel literally means “with us is God” That name was subsequently given to Jesus in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants”
This seemingly crazy prophesy did come true when in Matthew 1:8 Mary is found a virgin caring the Savior of the world.
Isaiah gave many names for Christ in 9:3 he listed a few. Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace.
Elder Nelson also teaches us “Each of has a responsibility to know the Lord, love him, follow him, serve him, teach, and testify of him.”
WE must learn and understand what the Savior is for each and every one of us. The many names given to him can help us throughout our whole life, and may change with what we need him to be. Are we struggling with our children and family and we need a comforter. Are we a young teenager who is struggling and making mistakes and he is our loving judge? Have we wandered from the path and he is our redeemer. He is always our Mighty God. He is our Everlasting Father because he is the creator of all things. He is our judge, our shepherd, our brother and our friend. I hope we can all come to find out who is for each of us and draw strength from who we need him to be.
Micah declared “But thou Bethlehem... but though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.”
How significant is it that the one who calls himself “the bread of life” came from Bethlehem which translated means “House of Bread.”
Joseph and Mary were compelled to Bethlehem. A five day journey, 30 miles each day. The end of which from Jericho’s desert to Bethlehem is a 3,500 ft uphill hike!
I gain strength from the very pregnant Mary who probably suffered much to fulfill this prophesy. I must then ask myself. What am I doing, what climbs am I willing to make to fulfill the Fathers plan for me? There are things foretold of me. Am I fighting my way toward and through those things? Am I embracing my struggles so my Father can make me what HE needs me to be? What am I doing to bring to pass the Immortality and Eternal life of my fellow man? Am I doing all I can to bring my brothers and sisters to knowledge the great plan of Happiness.
In Isaiah 61:1 says speaking of Christ “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tiding unto the meek. He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to them that are bound.”
In the Sermon on the Mount our Savior teaches more (Matt 5:2-12)
“Blesses are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the poor in sprit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the poor in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; For great is your reward in heaven
The glad tidings proclaimed to the shepherds who swiftly departed to find their Christ is such a perfect reminder to those of us who were brought to earth for our own purposes to feed the Saviors sheep.
At Christmas time I issue this challenge to us all… Is Christ our Savior, the babe of Bethlehem, born in you? In all of us who are filled with glad tidings, does the world notice that life can be full of joy even through sorrow? Does the light of Christ shine so bright in our eyes that strangers will follow our example like the shining star did for the baby? Are we proclaiming our glad tidings with the joy and kindness on our homes?
I know that we must! We must shine for this ever increasingly wicked world. We must stick out and be a beacon of light for those who need to know the Savior. We must proclaim the truth of all things. We must read and understand our scriptures, and know the warnings the prophets proclaime to our day.
I have a testimony that the babe of Bethlehem was born among the lowest of men, he lived his life a wanderer, and man who did all for his fellowman. He gave his life for those who even do not believe in him. I know that he lives and loves me. I know his greatest joy will be to see me enter the kingdom of heaven with my family. He wants me to come home. HE loves me so much and gave his life for me. I will do all I can to live my life for him!!