“Lesson Thirty-seven: ‘Come Let Us Adore Him’” Family Home Evening Resource Book (1997), 156
“Lesson Thirty-seven: ‘Come Let Us Adore Him’” Family Home Evening Resource Book, 156
Plan and prepare as a family to celebrate Christmas by enjoying the true spirit of the Savior’s birth during the holiday season.
“If Christmas could just happen without so much bother.” “I can’t wait to see what I get.” “By the time Christmas arrives I am so exhausted I hardly feel anything but relief.” Many of us—adults and children—go through the whole holiday season with thoughts like these foremost in our minds. How many times have you had such feelings or thoughts yourself? But Christmas is actually one of the most sacred of holidays, and enjoying its true spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ, can bring us closer to the Savior.
You may wish to take two separate home evenings to accomplish the objectives of this lesson. The first part should be given early in December, the second part during the week of Christmas.
Prepare simple Christmas priority charts for each member of the family.
Assign parts for the Christmas program.
Use the hymns and songs listed in the suggested lesson, parts 1 and 2.
On standard sized paper, prepare a Christmas priorities chart for each family member. See the example:
In the column labeled “Most Exciting,” have each person put down his first, second, and third choices of what is personally most exciting about Christmas to him. Discuss why each person made the choices he did.
Your little children will not be able to write, but parents or older children could help them. They will enjoy having a list of their own.
In the column labeled “Most Important,” have family members write what they think should be most important, again indicating their first, second, and third choices.
Why is it that at Christmastime the things that are most exciting and take the most time are not necessarily the most important?
What can we do to make our Christmas more meaningful and to spend more time considering those things that are most important? (Cut down on some activities and preparations that are not important; then spend more time on things that are.)
How can we make Christ the center of our Christmas?
Have family members place their lists where they can see them during the weeks preceding Christmas.
Have your family sing “Joy to the World” (Hymns, no. 201). Then discuss each part of your Christmas celebration, and decide how you can honor Jesus more. Help your family to have the courage to make necessary cuts and changes. The answers given are for your consideration. You should make the decisions that fit your own family.
How can we plan our Christmas gifts so they will help us to honor the Savior and feel the true spirit of Christmas?
Remind your family that our gifts should reflect the same spirit of love and concern as did those of the Wise Men who presented the first gifts to the baby Jesus. Explain that gifts will contribute to the spirit of Christmas only when they pass these three tests:
Is the gift given in the spirit of love?
Is it a reasonable choice and not too expensive or time consuming for the giver?
Will it be ready before Christmas so that it will not take last minute preparation that should be spent on more important activities?
Your family may think of alternatives to material gifts, such as the following:
Gifts of time and service. For example, one teenager wrapped a card for his sister that read, “I will take your turn doing the dishes three times when you need me.” Suggest that each person give at least one such gift of service to each family member.
Gifts of ideas. For example, personal ideas, recipes, family history information, and personal histories make gifts that will be deeply appreciated.
If gifts are purchased, they should be chosen especially for the one who will receive them. A good gift need not be expensive, but it must let the person who receives it know that he is loved.
Perhaps you should consider cutting down on your list of those to whom you give gifts. The mere exchanging of gifts does not necessarily reflect the true spirit of Christmas and may contribute to your putting material things at the center of your Christmas season rather than the Savior.
How can our Christmas decorations add more to the spirit of Christmas?
If Christmas decorations are too time consuming and expensive, they can detract from the spirit of Christmas. If left to the last minute, they often add haste and confusion to Christmas observance.
As you plan your decorations, discuss the idea that traditional decorations can remind us of Jesus because of their symbolism. For example:
Lights, candles, star
The star that appeared on the night of Jesus’ birth
The crown of thorns
Life and hope
Red, holly berries
The blood of Christ
How can we enjoy preparing Christmas food so that it will add to the spirit of Christmas?
If Christmas food is kept simple, it can be an enjoyable part of Christmas. Make up menus and shopping lists weeks before Christmas, and purchase the items when it is convenient. This takes planning. Making cookies, candies, and cakes can be a family project that will bring you closer together and add to the real meaning of Christmas. Be sure to include your young children in these projects.
Which of our traditional Christmas activities add to the spirit of our celebration and bring us closer to the Savior?
Your family should honestly evaluate such activities as Christmas parties or the sending of Christmas cards and omit those that take away time from more important activities you want to plan.
You may wish to begin Christmas traditions that put service and love first in your plan by visiting long neglected relatives, lonely persons, or neighbors with whom you are not well acquainted. By sharing food, toys, and gifts with families who are in need, you may find new meaning in your celebration of the birth of the Lord. Remind your family that the Savior taught, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
How can our family center our thoughts more upon Jesus Christ?
Following are some suggestions to help your family center their thoughts upon the Savior in the weeks preceding Christmas. Discuss them with your family, and together determine which ones you plan to use. You may think of other activities that you will want to plan.
Read the scriptures about the Lord’s birth. Suggest a “Scriptural Twelve Days of Christmas.” Beginning twelve days before Christmas, have a daily scripture reading using one of the following scriptures:
Ask each family member to give the Savior a special gift by trying to live the law of love in some special way during the Christmas season.
Plan to hold a special family home evening during Christmas week to celebrate the birth of the Savior. A program is suggested as part 2 of this lesson, or you could plan one of your own.
Listening to sacred Christmas music will also help you think about Jesus. Plan times when you can sing carols together and talk about the meaning of the words.
End this home evening by singing a favorite Christmas carol.
This family Christmas program is simple and will need no extensive preparation, but it will be much more effective if it can be presented without interruption. Use the following suggestions to help you make this a spiritual experience for your family:
Plan to let all family members participate on the program. Tell, rather than read, the story of the birth of the Savior.
The program will run more smoothly if each reader on the program has his own Bible and has marked where his part begins and ends. If younger children are reading some of the scripture verses, let each one practice his part privately with you.
If you plan to use an accompaniment, the person playing should begin the prelude music for the next song as soon as each scripture reading is finished.
Prayer: Perhaps a child could offer the opening prayer.
Song: Sing the first two verses of “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” (Hymns, no. 202). If you have accompaniment for the singing, it would be effective to continue playing this song softly after the first two verses while the following scripture is read. Then the family can join in singing the third verse when the scripture is finished and when the accompanist returns to the beginning of the song. If you do not have musical accompaniment, the group may want to hum softly while the scripture is read.
Scripture: Have someone read Matthew 1:18–23. Do not attempt to explain the hard words or the meaning of this passage. Let the family feel the spirit of what is read and go on with the program.
Song: Sing the third verse of “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful.”
Scripture: Have someone read Luke 2:1–7.
Song: Sing one verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Hymns, no. 208). This carol would be a good one to use as a solo.
Scripture: Continue reading Luke 2:8–14. Perhaps this passage could be recited together as a choral reading by all the family.
Song: Have your family sing at least the first two verses of “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains” (Hymns, no. 212). Some families may want to sing all four verses because of their message.
Scripture: Finish reading the story of the Savior’s birth found in Luke 2:15–20.
Song: Sing both verses of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (Hymns, no. 209).
Narration: Have someone read the following paragraphs or give the message in his own words.
The Wise Men did not come the night Jesus was born as the shepherds did. They saw the star in the East and traveled far to see him. They arrived in Palestine from the East sometime later, perhaps even months later.
There is no account that tells us just how many Wise Men came to worship the Savior. There may have been three; there may have been seven; there may have been ten. But how many came is not so important. What is important is that they were wise men who came to present their gifts and worship this wondrous child. We today should remember that wise men still seek him.
Song: “With Wondering Awe” (Hymns, no. 210) would be a good song to have a small group in your family sing as a duet or trio. If you prefer, have the entire group sing it. The first two verses are the most important for the program.
Scripture: Have someone read Matthew 2:1–11.
Song: Sing the first two verses of “Joy to the World” (Hymns, no. 201).
Testimony: This would be a good time for the parents to bear their testimonies of Jesus Christ. They may want to encourage their family to make this Christmas a time of tenderness, peace, and appreciation by showing love for each family member, not by the gifts they give, but by the way they treat and feel toward each other.
Song: Close by singing all the verses of “Silent Night” (Hymns, no. 204).
Prayer: Have a family member give the closing prayer.
You may want to have some special refreshments after the program, perhaps some treat that is traditional in your family at Christmastime. The family may also want to sing some more carols together. For this special night, it would be best to sing hymns about the birth of the Savior and to avoid songs about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and other traditions not related directly to this event. These songs may be sung at another time.
The signs of the Savior’s birth were given to the people in America as well as to those in Palestine. You may wish to present a family program similar to “Come Let Us Adore Him” but using the scriptures and story given in the Book of Mormon.
Begin with the vision of Nephi (1 Nephi 11:12–21) and the words of Samuel the Lamanite (Helaman 14:2–13). Then continue with 3 Nephi 1:1, 4–21. You may wish to end with Christ’s first appearance to the Nephites after his resurrection (3 Nephi 11:1–11).
Devote one evening to discussing the gifts we can give to Jesus. You may want to begin by having someone read the account of the visit of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:1–12). Or the family members may enjoy acting out the story.
Use the story as a key for discussing your family’s own gifts to the Savior. Have each family member plan a gift he will give the Savior over the Christmas season. The family can write out their gifts, place the slips in a box, and decorate the box. The box can be opened on Christmas, and family members can tell what they have given or are going to give to the Lord.
Plan an evening of carols with family members singing together or as groups or soloists. Choose carols that deal with the birth of Christ. Some family members may enjoy telling about the origins of the carols they sing or about why the carol they have chosen is special to them.
Younger children can dress up in costumes representing shepherds, Wise Men, or angels, as they sing their carols. Be sure to portray the angels without wings.
You may wish to go caroling on another evening after this family home evening.
If you have no particular family Christmas traditions, you may want to spend an evening talking about and choosing some Christmas activity that can become a tradition in your family. Plan it so that all family members can participate. Choose an activity that you can repeat year after year. You may want to appoint or elect one family member to remember the tradition and remind everyone the next year.
Plan and carry out a Christmas service project in which you carry the spirit of Christmas and the love of Christ to someone who is ill, lonely, unfortunate, friendless, or afflicted.
For example, you may wish to have a “Twelve Days of Christmas” remembrance in which you present some small gift or service to a person on each of the twelve days. Or you may wish to adopt a family for Christmas to share with you in the joyous season. You might consider giving a gift of the gospel—an Ensign or Liahona subscription, a copy of the scriptures, or a recent book by a General Authority.
You may wish to coordinate your family project with the bishop or branch president to avoid duplication.
The December issue of the Ensign, Friend, New Era, or Liahona will contain inspirational stories and messages about Christmas. Build a family home evening around reading Christmas stories and articles from your Church magazine.