“December 16–22. Christmas: ‘Good Tidings of Great Joy’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“December 16–22. Christmas,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Why does the birth of a baby bring such great joy? Perhaps because a new baby can be a symbol of hope. There’s something about a brand-new life full of possibilities that invites us to ponder what life might hold for that child and what wonderful things he or she will accomplish. Never has this been truer than at the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Never has there been more hope placed in a child, and never has there been one born with so much promise.
When an angel invited shepherds to seek a newborn child in a manger, he also gave them a message about that child. It was a message of hope—that this baby had come to earth to fulfill a sacred mission. The shepherds made their message “known abroad … and all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:17–19). Perhaps it would be good to follow Mary’s example this Christmas: to ponder in your heart the things you have learned about the Savior this year. How did He fulfill His mission of redemption in the accounts you have read? And more important, how has His mission changed your life?
Even if you have read or heard the story of the birth of Jesus Christ many times before, study it this time with this thought in mind: “Christmas is not only a celebration of how Jesus came into the world but also of knowing who He is—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—and of why He came” (Craig C. Christensen, “The Fulness of the Story of Christmas” [First Presidency Christmas devotional, Dec. 4, 2016], broadcasts.lds.org).
What do you know about who Jesus Christ was before He was born? (see, for example, John 17:5; Mosiah 3:5; D&C 76:13–14, 20–24; Moses 4:2). How does this knowledge affect the way you feel when you read about His birth?
What do you know about why Jesus Christ came to earth? (see, for example, Luke 4:16–21; John 3:16–17; 3 Nephi 27:13–16; D&C 20:20–28). How does this knowledge affect the way you feel about the Savior? How does it affect the way you live?
Although the story of Christ’s birth was surrounded by miraculous events, His would be just another birth if it weren’t for the great work that He accomplished later in His life. As President Gordon B. Hinckley put it, “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” (“The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 2000, 5).
Evidence of the Savior’s divine mission and His powerful love for others is found throughout the New Testament. Which passages or accounts come to your mind? You might look back through this resource or your study journal and review some of the impressions you recorded. You could also read 1 Corinthians 15:21–26; Colossians 1:12–22; 1 Peter 2:21–25 and ponder how the Savior and His work have blessed your life. What do you feel inspired to change in your life? How will you draw on the Savior’s power?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
How can you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with your family? Here are a few ideas, or you can come up with your own:
Read or act out parts of the Nativity story together.
Watch the video “The Nativity” (churchofjesuschrist.org).
Watch a First Presidency Christmas devotional (broadcasts.churchofjesuschrist.org).
Sing Christmas hymns together, or choose neighbors or friends to visit and sing to them (see Hymns, nos. 201–14).
Perform an act of service.
Ask family members to look for details in the Nativity story that give them ideas for ornaments or decorations they could make to remind them of Jesus Christ.
Why are we grateful that Jesus Christ was born? What gifts has He given us? How can we show Him our gratitude?
If you want to help your family focus on the Savior at Christmastime, perhaps you could spend some time reading and studying together “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, inside front cover). Maybe you could memorize passages from “The Living Christ” or look for descriptions of the Savior’s life in the New Testament that support statements in it. You could also invite each family member to write his or her own testimony of Jesus Christ and, if so prompted, read it to the family.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.