“December 19–25. Christmas: ‘We Have Waited for Him, and He Will Save Us,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“December 19–25. Christmas,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
The Old Testament carries a spirit of eager anticipation. In that way, it’s a little bit like the Christmas season. Beginning with Adam and Eve, Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, poets, and people looked forward to better days, filled with hope for renewal and deliverance by the Messiah. And the Israelites were frequently in need of that hope—whether they were in captivity in Egypt or Babylon or held captive by their own sin or rebellion. Through it all, prophets reminded them that a Messiah, a Deliverer, would come “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).
That hope began to be realized when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. The mighty Deliverer of Israel was born in a stable and laid in a manger (see Luke 2:7). But He wasn’t just the Deliverer of the ancient Israelites. He came to deliver you—to bear your grief, to carry your sorrows, to be bruised for your iniquities, so that with His stripes you can be healed (see Isaiah 53:4–5). This is why Christmas is so full of joyful anticipation even today. The Messiah came over 2,000 years ago, and He continues to come into our lives whenever we seek Him.
Christmas is known as a joyful season because of the joy that Jesus Christ brings to the world. Even people who don’t worship Jesus as the Son of God can often feel the happiness of Christmas. Ponder the joy you feel because Heavenly Father sent His Son.
Centuries before the Savior was born, Old Testament prophets also felt joy as they spoke of the coming Messiah. Read some of the following passages, and think about why they would have been precious to those who looked forward to the Savior’s mission: Psalm 35:9; Isaiah 25:8–9; 44:21–24; 51:11; Zephaniah 3:14–20; Moses 5:5–11. Why are these passages precious to you?
See also Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 81–84.
Many of the traditions associated with Christmas can have symbolic meanings that point us to Christ. Star-shaped decorations represent the bright star that shone the night of Jesus’s birth (see Matthew 2:2). Carolers can remind us of the angels who appeared to the shepherds (see Luke 2:13–14). As you studied the Old Testament this year, you may have noticed many symbols of the Savior. A few are listed below. Consider studying these and recording what they teach you about Him.
What other symbols, passages, and accounts have you found in the scriptures that testify of Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is referred to by many different names and titles. What titles do you find in the following verses? Psalms 23:1; 83:18; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 12:2; 63:16; Amos 4:13; Zechariah 14:16; Moses 7:53. What other titles can you think of? You might even enjoy listing titles of Jesus Christ that you find in Christmas hymns. How does each title influence the way you think about Him?
Christmas traditions can point to Jesus Christ.
Israelite families had traditions, such as the Passover and other feasts, that were meant to point their hearts and minds to the Lord (see Exodus 12). What traditions does your family have at Christmastime that help you focus on Jesus Christ? What traditions do you know about from your family history? You might consider discussing as a family some traditions you want to start. Some ideas might include serving someone in need (for ideas, see ComeuntoChrist.org/light-the-world), inviting a friend to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional with you (broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org), writing your own Christmas song, or finding a creative way to share the message of Christ’s birth.
“The Christ Child: A Nativity Story.”
How can you help family members feel the reverence and joy of Christ’s birth? You might watch the video “The Christ Child: A Nativity Story” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) or read together Matthew 1:18–25; 2:1–12; Luke 1:26–38; 2:1–20. Each family member could choose a person from the video or scripture account and share how that person felt about the Savior. Family members could also share their own feelings about Him.
Finding the Savior in the Old Testament.
As you prepare to study the life of Jesus Christ in the New Testament next year, consider reviewing with your family what they have learned about Him this year in the Old Testament. You might review the outlines in this resource and any personal study notes to help you remember what you’ve learned. Younger children might benefit from looking through Old Testament Stories or the pictures in this resource. What prophecies or stories stood out to us? What have we learned about the Savior?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Hymns, no. 208.