The Twelve Days of Christmas
“Traditionally, Christmas was a season, not a single day. Rather than being some kind of countdown to the big day, the customary Twelve Days were a celebration that began with Christmas and stretched to the eve of Epiphany on January 6. In recent years we have tried to recapture some of that concept of a season of celebration rather than just a day. We have started leaving our Christmas tree up and our Christmas lights on until January 6, the night our family reads the story of the coming of the Wise Men from Matthew 2. And rather than abruptly ending our December pattern of reading and singing together each evening, we now try to read some of the other stories that follow the birth and the adoration of the shepherd, such as the Presentation in the Temple and then the story of Jesus as a boy, later teaching in that same temple (Luke 2:41–52)” (Good Tidings of Great Joy, 136).
At Wenceslas Square, in the heart of Prague, there is a statue of the Duke of Bohemia, affectionately known as good King Wenceslas. A caring Christian ruler and patron saint of the Czech Republic, Wenceslas has come to represent kindhearted generosity and selfless giving. And because these attributes are at the heart of Christmas, it’s not surprising that good King Wenceslas is also the subject of a beloved Christmas carol.The carol is based on a story set during a feast day shortly after Christmas. But King Wenceslas is not feasting; instead, he looks out the window onto the wintry landscape and discovers a poor man, gathering whatever meager firewood he can find in the deep snow. Filled with compassion, Wenceslas calls his page and tells him to bring food and wood for the destitute man. Then, instead of sending his page on the errand alone, Wenceslas leaves his comfortable home and goes with the page into the cold night to deliver the gifts personally.At one point, the snow becomes so deep and the wind so fierce that the page wonders if he can carry on. But Wenceslas invites him to walk in his footsteps, and as he does, the page finds strength to endure. Together they brave the storm and fill the poor man’s humble home with generous gifts.Aren’t we all somewhat like Wenceslas’s page? We joyfully accept the invitation to generous giving that comes with the Christmas season. But sometimes meaningful giving, the kind that really makes a difference, requires sacrifice, and that can be difficult. When this happens, we can find strength as we walk in the steps of the Master Giver.After all, as he once said, “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:27).This is why we honor good King Wenceslas more than a thousand years later: because he reminds us of the kindness and generosity of another king — one who also chose to be a servant, who lived among the poor and the weary so that he could give them relief. This is the king whose birth and life of service we celebrate at Christmas.
The Wenceslas told by actress Jane Seymore at the 2011 Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.
“Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:1–8 NRSV)
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.' Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?' And the King shall answer and say unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me'" (Matthew 25:34–40)
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing madethat was made.
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us, (John 1:1–3, 14a)
Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God.I created the heavens and the earth,
and all things that in them are.
I was with the Father from the beginning.I am in the Father,
and the Father in me;
and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
I am the light and the life of the world.I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end. (3 Nephi 9:15, 18)
|Eva Koleva Timothy, "In the Beginning Was the Word"|
Of the Father’s love begottenere the worlds began to be,he is Alpha and Omega —he the source, the ending he,of the things that are, that have been,and that future years shall seeevermore and evermore.O that birth forever blessed,when a virgin, blest with grace,by the Holy Ghost conceiving,bore the Savior of our race;and the babe, the world’s Redeemer,first revealed his sacred face,evermore and evermore.This is he whom seers in old timechanted of with one accord,whom the voices of the prophetspromised in their faithful word;now he shines, the long-expected;let creation praise its Lordevermore and evermore.Let the heights of heaven adore him;angel hosts, his praises sing:powers, dominions, bow before himand extol our God and King;let no tongue on earth be silent,every voice in concert ringevermore and evermore.Christ, to you, with God the Fatherand the Spirit, there shall behymn and chant and high thanksgivingand the shout of jubilee:honor, glory, and dominionand eternal victoryevermore and evermore.
The grief of the mothers of Bethlehem compels us to face a sad reality: what is such a joyous season for so many is often a cheerless or even depressing time for others. As Elder Jeffery R. Holland has written, “For many people in many places this may not be an entirely happy Christmas, one not filled with complete joy because of the circumstances facing a spouse or a friend, a child or a grandchild. Or perhaps that was the case another Christmas in another year, but one which brings a painful annual memory to us yet” (Shepherds Why This Jubilee, 59). To the list of those who have lost a loved one or suffered some personal pain, I would add those who are alone, ill, or chronically depressed at Christmastime. Circumstances beyond our control often weigh heavily upon us, set in sharp contrast by the seeming joy of so many around us. And sometimes the sadness we feel is simply the regret and letdown that comes when a happy time comes to a necessary end and we are confronted with the monotony or dreary routine of day-to-day living.In his short book, Shepherds Why This Jubilee, Elder Holland concludes by reflecting on a sad Christmas in his own life, recounting the year his own father suffered a heart attack following surgery right before Christmas. In the hospital early Christmas morning in 1976, facing the imminent loss of his father, the sound of a newborn baby jolted him out of his sorrow.Comparing the joy of that baby’s parents to that of Mary and Joseph that first Christmas, Elder Holland considered the great plan of salvation that the Babe of Bethlehem, as the Man on the Cross, would effect for us. He wrote, “Temporary separation at death and the other difficulties that attend us as we all move toward that end are part of the price we pay for birth and family ties and the fun of Christmas together . . . These are God’s gifts to us—birth and life and death and salvation, the whole divine experience in all its richness and complexity” (Shepherds Why This Jubilee, 67–68, 71).Christmas may not always be happy. But the coming of Jesus into the world that wonderful night made possible the great suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord, which are the true tidings of great joy. Hopefully we can ameliorate our own sadness by serving and giving to others, lightening their burdens and easing their loneliness. Ultimately, however, we must with faith lay hold on the promise that joy—true joy without end—often lies ahead.
“And when [the Magi] were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.’ When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son.’"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ‘In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.’” (Matthew 2:13–18)
"Thou shalt alive together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them . . .” (D&C 42:45–46)
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. (John 3:16–17)
Thus saith the Lord; for I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved . . (D&C 49:5)
Here in this silent night,Now all the world is right,As if we've suddenly been given,A gift of love, a gift of love.Warm as the fire glow,Soft as the fallen snow,A precious miracle we live in,This wonder of a gift of love.Bridge:Night falls at this coldest time of the yearLove calls and it’s summer in here.Here where I love you so,Now as our blessings grow,We share the greatest gift we’ll ever know,A gift of love, a gift of love.
|Edwin Longsden Long, Anno Domini (Flight into Egypt)|
“The story of how Joseph the Carpenter accepted, protected, raised, and no doubt loved a precious child who was not his own is one that stirs the heart. In many traditions, his goodness and the faithful discharge of his special mission earned him the title Saint Joseph, and he is honored together with Mary and the Baby Jesus as part of a Holy Family. After the Infancy Narratives of Matthew and Luke and the brief story of the boy Jesus in the temple, Joseph is never heard of again. Passing references to Jesus’ supposed father (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 6:42), together with his otherwise conspicuous absence later in the Gospels seem to suggest that he was no longer alive when the adult Jesus began his public ministry. We are left instead with the impression of a very good man, the loving husband of a special woman and the guardian of a precious child. . . .“Recognizing that Joseph was a strong, responsible, and loving man who sought and received revelation to care for his family, I am inspired to emulate those qualities. In those moments, the gift I hope to give my Lord that year is to be more like Joseph the Carpenter” (“Joseph and Jesus, Our Children and Us,” Good Tidings of Great Joy, 34).
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, "Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life." And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:19–23)
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).“Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: ‘Awake and arise and go forth to meet the a-Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord’” (D&C 133:10).
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;I would my true love did so chanceTo see the legend of my play,To call my true love to my dance;ChorusSing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,This have I done for my true love.Then was I born of a virgin pure,Of her I took fleshly substanceThus was I knit to man’s natureTo call my true love to my dance.In a manger laid, and wrapped I wasSo very poor, this was my chanceBetwixt an ox and a silly poor assTo call my true love to my dance.Then afterwards baptized I was;The Holy Ghost on me did glance,My Father’s voice heard I from above,To call my true love to my dance.Then up to heaven I did ascend,Where now I dwell in sure substanceOn the right hand of God, that manMay come unto the general dance.
“Recently I have found myself drawn to the Lord’s instruction given through the Prophet Joseph Smith: ‘Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.’ This declaration is often repeated throughout scripture. It prompts an obvious question: ‘Does everyone need to repent?’ The answer is yes.“Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us.“The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeō. The prefix meta- means ‘change.’ The suffix -noeō is related to Greek words that mean ‘mind,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘spirit,’ and ‘breath.’“Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to ‘repent,’ He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.” (Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” Liahona, May 2019, 67).
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:3–6).
“And the Lord said unto me: ‘Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God’” (Mosiah 27:25–26).
|Shutterstock Item ID: 375206578, unlimited web license|
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;and there was no more sea.And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,coming down from God out of heaven,prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,and he will dwell with them,and they shall be his people,and God himself shall be with them,and be their God.And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;and there shall be no more death,neither sorrow,nor crying,neither shall there be any more pain:for the former things are passed away.”And he that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”And he said unto me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.”And he said unto me, “It is done.I am Alpha and Omega,the beginning and the end.I will give unto him that is athirstof the fountain of the water of life freely.He that overcometh shall inherit all things;and I will be his God,and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:1–7)
Turn your eyes to the Light, cast away the works of darkness, let them goTurn your eyes to the Light.Turn your face to the Sun. Feel the warmth, the hope of new beginningswith each new year.The light was always there, if we could but see it,and warmth was in the air, if we’d known how to feel.Turn your eyes to the Light. Turn your face to the Sun.New Light, New Hope, New Year.New Light. New Hope. New Year!Turn your ears to the sound. Somewhere near the voice is calling, “Hear the news.”Turn your ears to the sound.Turn your heart to the Love. Christ is come to bring the world new Life.To bring new Life.The voice is always there, if the world will hear it.And love is always there, if you search in your heart.Turn your ears to the sound. Turn your heart to the love.New Life, New Love, New Year.New Life, and Love, and Light and Hope.This Good New Year.New Year.
The image of the aged Simeon in the temple, at last meeting his promised Savior, is one that resonates with many believers today. It is also an image that has come to have special, personal meaning to me. In 2010, just four days before Christmas, my grandfather Cannon Huntsman died. Two days after Christmas, we buried him. Funerals at Christmastime are always poignant, even when they are held for good men and women who die at an old age. The sense of loss and sadness can weigh heavily on and even dampen the Christmas spirit.“But it was the story of Simeon that gave me great comfort the day after that Christmas. I read it that night to Elaine and the children, and I decided to use it in my remarks at the funeral the next day. As long as health permitted, Grandpa had spent as much time as he could in the temple. And like Simeon, he had a powerful faith in his Savior and Redeemer. While he did not hold the baby Jesus in his arms nor see the risen Lord in the flesh, Grandpa had seen the hand of the Lord all his life and rejoiced in his testimony of Jesus.“While modern revelation tells us ‘thou shalt live together in love insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die,’ it also reassures us that ‘those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them’ (D&C 42:45, 46). I have come to believe that men and women of Christ, like Grandpa, can share the sentiment of Simeon when their time comes, crying out in their hearts, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace’ (Luke 2:29)” (Eric Huntsman, Good Tidings of Great Joy, 93).
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; As it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord,” And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,according to thy word:For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;A light to lighten the Gentiles,and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:21–32)
|Simon Vouet, Presentation in the Temple|
“[Interpreting the changing of water to wine as a symbol of the divine Jehovah becoming the man Jesus] makes Mary’s presence at Cana all the more significant. Just as she was the catalyst for the miracle, prompting her son to act, so she was a necessary agent in making the Word flesh (compare John 1:14). The miracle at Cana is, in a sense, the Gospel of John’s equivalent of an infancy narrative. What Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2 do explicitly in their narratives, John does symbolically. . . .“Not only was Jesus’s mother a witness that he was the Son of God, she was the very instrument of bringing him into the world. As a type, however, these same roles extend to us. We, too, can be witnesses of Christ’s divinity and be catalysts in bringing others to him, helping them become recipients of his grace. According to the well-loved canticle called the Magnificat, Mary ‘magnified the Lord’ (Luke 1:46–55) by conceiving and bearing the Babe of Bethlehem. In a similar way, we can seek to magnify the Risen Christ by bringing him into the world through our lives and testimonies every day” (Eric Huntsman, Becoming the Beloved Disciple, 32–33).
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother,Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel;and for a sign which shall be spoken against;Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
(Luke 2:33–35, emphasis added)
And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: “Nephi, what beholdest thou?” And I said unto him: “A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.”And he said unto me: “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” And I said unto him: “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” And he said unto me: “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.”And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: “Look!” And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: “Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the dtree which thy father saw?” And I answered him, saying: “Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.” And he spake unto me, saying: “Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” (1 Nephi 11:14–23)
The tree of life my soul hath seen,Laden with fruit and always green;The trees of nature fruitless be,Compared with Christ the Apple Tree.His beauty doth all things excel,By faith I know but ne'er can tellThe glory which I now can see,In Jesus Christ the Appletree.For happiness I long have sought,And pleasure dearly I have bought;I missed of all but now I see'Tis found in Christ the Appletree.I'm weary with my former toil—Here I will sit and rest awhile,Under the shadow I will be,Of Jesus Christ the Appletree.With great delight I’ll make my stay,There’s none shall fright my soul away;Among the sons of men I seeThere’s none like Christ the Appletree.I’ll sit and eat this fruit divine,It cheers my heart like spirit’al wine;And now this fruit is sweet to me,That grows on Christ the Appletree.This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,It keeps my dying faith alive;Which makes my soul in haste to beWith Jesus Christ the Appletree.
“Luke’s narrative provides a second witness in the temple in the person of Anna, an elderly widow who spent every day in the temple in prayer and fasting (Luke 2:36–37). Significantly, she is described as a prophetess, connecting her to Deborah, Huldah, the wife of Isaiah, and perhaps Samuel’s mother, Hannah. Indeed, Anna is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Ḥannah, providing yet another connection between the story of Jesus’ birth and that of the prophet Samuel. At a time when most Jews were from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, Luke notes that Anna was from the tribe of Asher, perhaps suggesting that the lost tribes of Israel also await the coming of Christ. Having married young, perhaps between ten and fourteen, she had lost her husband after seven years, and, depending upon how the next verse is read, she was either eighty-four years old or had lived another eighty-four years after her husband’s death, which would mean she was as old as 103 or 105. While the actual words of this faithful woman are not preserved, as Simeon’s had been, she first blesses or thanks God and then 'spake [Greek, elalei, or “kept speaking”] of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem' (Luke 2:38)” (Good Tidings of Great Joy, 92; see also Camille Fronk Olson's entry on Anna in her Women in the New Testament).
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:36–38)
|James Tissot, Journey of the Magi|
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.’ When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda,art not the least among the princes of Juda:for out of thee shall come a Governor,that shall rule my people Israel.’Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also” (Matthew 2:1–8)
“May we give as the Savior gave. To give of oneself is a holy gift. We give as a remembrance of all the Savior has given. May we also give gifts that have eternal value, along with our gifts that eventually break or are forgotten. How much better the world would be if we all gave gifts of understanding and compassion, of service and friendship, of kindness and gentleness.“As the Christmas season envelops us with all its glory, may we, as did the Wise Men, seek a bright, particular star to guide us in our celebration of the Savior’s birth. May we all make the journey to Bethlehem in spirit, taking with us a tender, caring heart as our gift to the Savior” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Real Joy of Christmas,” 2013 Christmas Devotional).
“When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” (Matthew 2:9–12)
Suggested Carol: “We Three Kings”
"Reading and studying the stories of the Savior’s birth prepares us to celebrate the gift of the Babe of Bethlehem, helping us to know who this promised Savior was. If we follow our Christmas celebrations with the story of the Boy in the Temple and then continue to read about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after the holiday is over, then we will come to know and celebrate the Man of the Gospels throughout the year, preparing us to learn from him and understand truly what he was born to do. In 1983, Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized the importance of reading and studying the Gospels and the Book of Mormon in order to better know the Savior: “Let us establish in our lives the habit of reading those things which will strengthen our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. He is the pivotal figure of our theology and our faith. Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know for himself or herself with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God.” President Hinckley then went on to recommend a program of reading “a chapter a day of the Gospels—that is, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible; and Third Nephi in the Book of Mormon, particularly beginning with the eleventh chapter of Third Nephi where is found the account of Christ’s visit among the Nephites.”
Glad Tidings Every Day
"Continuing to study the scriptural testimonies of Jesus Christ can take the good tidings of the Savior’s birth and turn them into the daily glad tidings of a living, saving faith that will change both us and those around us. Speaking of this, President Monson has taught, 'Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. During his earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. To us, he has said, "Come, follow me."' As we strive to follow the Savior, we can extend the spirit of love and giving that abounds so much at Christmastime and enjoy it every day as we strive to love and serve those whom he loves. Helping the needy, visiting the sick and lonely, and sharing time with loved ones bring joy into the Christmas season to be sure, but doing these things throughout the year truly blesses others and makes us more like Jesus Christ."When we learn about the Man of the Gospels and then follow his example, we are ultimately led to the Savior who gave himself that we might live. As the Book of Mormon so clearly teaches, the tidings of the Savior’s birth are integrally connected with the good news of what he accomplished in the final days of his life. Thus as we move in our hearts and minds from Christmas to Easter, each day can be filled with glad tidings of great joy as we celebrate the teachings, miracles, and mission of Jesus, culminating in his terrible suffering, his saving death, and his glorious resurrection." § (Good Tidings of Great Joy, 137)
Keep Christmas with you,All through the year.When Christmas is over,You can keep it near,Think of this Christmas Day,When Christmas is far away.Keep Christmas with youAll through the yearWhen Christmas is overSave some Christmas cheer.These precious moments,Hold them very dear,And keep Christmas with you,All through the year.Christmas means the spirit of giving,Peace and joy to you.The goodness of loving,The gladness of living,These are Christmas too.So, keep Christmas with you,All through the year,When Christmas is over,Save some Christmas cheer.These precious moments,Hold them very dear,And keep Christmas with you,All through the year.So keep Christmas with you,All through the year.
 Gordon B. Hinckley, “Fear Not to Do Good,” Ensign, May 1983, 80.
 Hinckley, “Fear Not to Do Good,” 80.
 Monson, “In Search of the Christmas Spirit,” 8.
Epiphany | The Presentation
“This is the wondrous and true story of Christmas. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea is preface. The three-year ministry of the Master is prologue. The magnificent substance of the story is His sacrifice, the totally selfless act of dying in pain on the cross of Calvary to atone for the sins of all of us. The epilogue is the miracle of the Resurrection, bringing the assurance that ‘as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Cor. 15:22). 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” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 2000, 2)