From the time of Adam, God has called His servants to testify of the coming of a Messiah who would offer love, hope, and joy.
Henry B. Eyring Offical Portrait 2018

It is not surprising that at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, angels appeared and exclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). They rejoiced in knowing that this tiny babe would open the door to immortality and eternal life. It was perfectly proper that a star would appear to light the sky to honor the entrance into mortal life of the Only Begotten Son of Almighty God.

Prophets had testified for millennia of the birth of a promised Messiah, one who would “redeem all those who shall believe on his name” (Helaman 14:2).

Isaiah prophesied, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Micah proclaimed, “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, 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; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Nephi saw a virgin “bearing a child in her arms” and was told by an angel that it was “the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Nephi 11:20, 21).

When I read prophetic promises of His birth—especially during the Christmas season—I feel the Holy Ghost witness again that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. As I study the Savior’s words and His life, I come to know Him and love Him for what He has done for each of us. The spirit of love is the spirit of Christmas.

“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” (John 3:16).

The gift of the Son of God is a priceless gift. He is the gift that lights our way and lifts us. He is the gift that sustains us through the difficult days of our mortal journey. He is the gift that offers divine love, lasting hope, and true joy.

Divine Love

When we consider the vastness of the creation that Jehovah undertook under the direction of His Father, we naturally wonder at His power and feel to worship Him. He towers above us. Yet, the events surrounding His humble mortal birth engender a feeling of overwhelming love.

Jesus could have been born into any situation the Father chose. In fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy (see Micah 5:2), Jesus was born in a tiny village in the hill country of Judea. Humble shepherds welcomed Him. Wise men followed a star to worship Him. Political leaders feared Him. His parents had to flee to a foreign country to save Him.

When it was safe to return, Mary and Joseph were directed to an unremarkable village in the hills of Galilee. Jesus spent nearly 30 years there before beginning His public ministry of love.

Jesus Christ chose to come down from His throne at the right hand of the Father and to take upon Himself mortality. He did so out of love for every spirit son and daughter of His Father who would be born into the world, including you and me.

During His ministry, Jesus made no distinction between rich and poor, male and female, young and old, healthy and infirm. He did not shun those of different faiths or cultural backgrounds. He loved everyone. He loves everyone.

“We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And He has commanded, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Hope of the World

A popular Christmas carol implores, “O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”1

We may not be captive in Egypt or Babylon, as were the ancient Israelites, but we are captive nonetheless—captive to sin and death. And like Israel of old, we hope for deliverance. The birth of “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11) heralded the fulfillment of that hope. That is why we sing of Bethlehem, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”2

The birth, life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ constitute “good tidings” (Luke 2:10) of healing, liberty, and deliverance.

Speaking messianically, Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1; emphasis added).

You remember that as He began His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ read those words in a synagogue in Nazareth. Then He declared, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).

Because the Christ child became the Messiah who magnified His ministry and mission by doing the will of the Father, He delivers us from spiritual and physical death.

“He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.”3

Christ in Gethsemane

Christ in Gethsemane, by Harry Anderson

Joy in the Lord

The baby in the manger was the Son of God, sent as a gift from the Father to become our Savior. Through the joy we feel because of His coming, our burdens can be made light (see Alma 33:23). That is because the babe of Bethlehem who delivers us from sin and death can also deliver us from sorrow, doubt, fear, and pain.

You recall the words Jacob taught about the coming of the Holy One of Israel:

“O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.

“And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.

“And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day” (2 Nephi 9:20–22).

To have the Christmas spirit, we not only read His words and study His life but also act upon what we learn. That includes feeding the Savior’s sheep by gathering them to His fold. We gather as we share the joy we feel because of His birth and because of the Restoration of His gospel. If we are on the path the Lord has designed for us, we will have His light to show others the way to Him.

Life can be difficult, and hard times can threaten our faith. When we confront trial and tragedy, we may wonder if our faith in God’s Son is a vain hope. But trials are designed to draw us toward the Savior so that He can make us better able to lift others to Him. As we share the “good cheer” (3 Nephi 1:13) of His coming, we lift heads and soften hearts. I promise that the day will come, if it has not already, when your faith in His coming will be confirmed. That will be a happy day.

Christmas is a time of love, hope, and joy. It is also a time of gratitude and reflection. During Christmas we make new memories and relive old ones. We miss family and friends who have passed on. We wonder where the years have gone and what the new year will bring. And in the midst of our reverie, we give gratitude to God for the glorious gift “called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

May the spirit of that Christmas gift fill your heart this season and throughout the coming year.


1. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” in An Annotated Anthology of Hymns, ed. J. R. Watson (2002), 34.
2. “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Hymns, no. 208.
3. “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,”

Henry B. Eyring Official Portrait 2018
Henry B. Eyring
President Henry B. Eyring was sustained and set apart as second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, January 14, 2018.