בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לזְּמַן הַזֶּה.

Bārūch atāh Adonai Elohênū melekh ha`ôlām šeheḥeyānû veqîmānû vehigî`ānû lazman hazeh

Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us life and sustained us and brought us to this season

Christmas Resource Guide

Preparing for Christmas on Each of the Days of December (updated 12/11/13)
Taken from Good Tidings of Great Joy, Appendix B, pp. 143-147.

See also our family's suggestion for a weekly Advent celebration on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas and any of the following links:

Preparing for Christmas  |  Celebrating Advent  |  First Advent  |  Second Advent  |  Third Advent  |  Fourth Advent  |  Christmas Eve  |  The Focus of Advent  |   Epiphany  |  Christmas throughout the Year


            In 1998 our family began the practice of taking time each day from December 1 to 24 for a short Christmas devotional.  The previous year, one of my aunts gave us a small booklet for Christmas that provided a scripture, a carol, and a Christmas story for each of the days leading up to Christmas.  In addition to our weekly observance of Advent, this practice of holding a daily devotional has become quite a tradition for us as each evening we gather in the living room, light the candles of our Advent wreath, and then read a story together, recite a scripture passage, and finally sing a carol before we join in family prayer.  Our children have taken to calling this routine “doing Christmas,” which is fitting, because our tradition has helped us focus on the true meaning of Christmas during the entire month.

Over the years we have developed and altered our Christmas Season Book, printing it and keeping it in a three ring binder so that we can change it from time to time.  My first change was to make a new selection of scriptures, drawing them from the LDS standard works and arranging them in rough chronological order to show how God revealed the good news of the coming of his Son, beginning with Adam and culminating with the annunciations to Mary and Joseph.  I have provided the text for each day’s reading below together with a brief introduction describing who made the prophecy. These scriptural readings form the heart of each day’s devotional.

Sometimes the carol suggestions match the scripture readings for the day, such as matching “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” with the reading of the account of the Annunciation to Mary on December 20. More often than not, however, I have simply tried to see that a wide variety of Christmas songs, including a few from the Children’s Songbook of the LDS Primary, are sung.  Many of the carols can be found in the Hymnbook, but a few of the less common ones can be found in collections such as The Christmas Songbook Treasury, 100 Carols for Choirs, or The New Oxford Book of Carols.

Ideas of what makes a good story vary widely, and we continue to change our own from year to year.  So for this Resource Guide, I have only included the titles of some of our current favorites, sometimes with brief annotation.  For copyright reasons, I have not reproduced any of these stories here, but the texts of most of them can be found on the Web or in commercial collections.  On this blog version of my Family Resource Guide, I am providing web links as I find them.  However, families may want to make their own lists of stories based upon their preferences or what they have readily available. 

Although we usually end our devotionals with our Christmas Eve celebration, I have suggested below a few readings that can be done after Christmas to help connect the Christmas season with the Gospels and look forward toward Easter.


December 1

The words of Enoch, which he preached recalling the promises that God made to Adam:

“And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: ‘I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.’ And he also said unto him: ‘If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men . . .

“‘Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shallcome in the meridian of time.’” (Moses 6:51–52, 57)

Suggested Story: O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi. This well-known story of a young, poor couple’s love for each other is a nice way to begin the season as we start thinking of getting or making our own gifts for each other.  We frequently shorten or summarize it for our children.

Suggested Carol: “Angels We Have Heard on High,” Hymns, no. 203.
 


December 2

Words of God to Moses about his Only Begotten:

“And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all . . . And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten . . . For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:6, 33, 39)

A Prophecy of Moses, which he made to the Children of Israel:

“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)

Suggested Story: On the Symbolism of Christmas” from “The Sixth Word” by Sherry Dillehay, Especially for Mormons, Vol. 2.  This, or a story like it, can serve as a good vehicle for helping children understand the symbolism of so many of our Christmas decorations.

Suggested Carol: “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” Hymns, no. 202.



December 3

The covenant of the Lord, which he made with David:         

“ . . . I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” (2 Samuel 7:12–14)

               “I have made a covenant with my chosen,
                              I have sworn unto David my servant,
               Thy seed will I establish for ever,
                              and build up thy throne to all generations.

               “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore,
                              and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
               His seed also will I make to endure for ever,
                              and his throne as the days of heaven.

               “His seed shall endure for ever,
                              and his throne as the sun before me.
               It shall be established for ever as the moon,
                              and as a faithful witness in heaven” (Psalm 89:3–4, 28–29, 36–37)

Suggested Story: A Different Kind of Christmas” by Lael J. Littke.  This touching story is set in Pioneer-era Utah and describes the love that a mother who has lost her daughters develops for her foster son.

Suggested Carol: “Once In David’s Royal City,” Hymns, no. 205.



December 4

A psalm attributed to David:

               “Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
                              even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
                              and the King of glory shall come in.

               “Who is this King of glory?
                              The Lord of hosts,
                              he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:9–10)


Suggested Carol: “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night,” Hymns, no. 211.



December 5

A prophecy of Isaiah:

“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)

               “ . . . Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23b)

Suggested Story: “It Takes a Child” (unknown author).  In this story a homeless man teaches a mother about unconditional love.

Suggested Carol: “The First Noel,” Hymns, no. 213



December 6

A prophecy of Isaiah: 

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:6–7a)

Suggested Story: “Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck. Later in life, a man reflects about the first, true Christmas gift he ever gave.

Suggested Carol: “Joy to the World,” Hymns, no. 201. 


.
December 7 
A prophecy of Isaiah:

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of the Lord  shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord : and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth . . .” (Isaiah 11:1–4a)

Suggested Story: In the Great Walled Country” by Raymond MacDonald Alden. A story mostly fit for young children.

Suggested Carol: “It Came upon a Midnight Clear,” Hymns, no. 207




December 8
A Prophecy of Isaiah:

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’ Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:1–5)


Suggested Carol: “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing,” Hymns, no. 209





December 9


Suggested Story:Mr. Jinks Hands Out the Holly,” The Children’s Friend, December 1958

The words of Micah regarding where the Messiah would be born:

“But thou, Bethlehem 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)

Suggested Carol: “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Hymns, no. 208





December 10
 

Suggested Story:Keeping Baby Warm” by Lynda H. Laughlin

A prophecy of Jeremiah:

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5–6; cf. 33:14–15)

Suggested Carol: “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains,” Hymns, no. 212. This carol was written by LDS composer John Menzies MacFarlane (1833–1892).





December 11

Suggested Story: “The Christmas Gift” by Hugh Oliver (in The Oxford Book of Christmas Stories)

Nephi, writing of the words of Lehi, which he gave to his family while traveling in the wilderness:

“Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world.  And he also spake concerning the prophets, how great a number had testified of these things, concerning this Messiah, of whom he had spoken, or this Redeemer of the world.”  (1 Nephi 10:4–5)



Suggested Carol: “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” 100 Carols for Choirs, no. 19.





December 12

Suggested Story: The C-C-Choir Boy by Fred Bauer.  A boy with a stutter finds he can sing a solo in his school pageant if he only keeps his thoughts on the baby Jesus.

From the vision of Nephi, the son of Lehi:

“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. 

“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.’ Ad 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!’” (1 Nephi 11:13–21a)

Suggested Carol: “What Child Is This? The New Oxford Book of Carols, no. 98.




December 13

Suggested Story:Bethann’s Christmas Prayer” by Marilyn Morgan Helleberg.  A young girl melts the heart of a sad, older woman who has suffered a terrible loss.

The words of Nephi, the son of Lehi, toward the end of his record:

“For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:19, 26)

Suggested Carol: “O Holy Night,” The Christmas Songbook Treasury, 68. 


December 14

Suggested Story:Pattern of Love” by Jack Smith

The words of Jacob, the son of Lehi, to the people at the temple in the Land of Nephi:

“For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.  Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. . .” (Jacob 4:4–5a)





December 15

Suggested Story: The Littlest Angel” by Charles Tazewell. Though rather inaccurate doctrinally, this story makes a nice point about God’s love for a child and his acceptance of gifts of the heart.

The testimony of Jacob, the son of Lehi, to Sherem:

“ . . . Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.  And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.” (Jacob 7:11–12)

Suggested Carol: “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” The New Oxford Book of Carols, no. 169. 





December 16


The words of Malachi:

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)

Suggested Carol: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” Hymns, no. 214.



Beginning with December 17, I am including the traditional "O Antiphons" (see my blog post "Awaiting the Messiah") with the final days leading up to Christmas Eve. 



December 17


The words of the angel to King Benjamin:

 “For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

“And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.  And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.


“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.” (Mosiah 3:5–8)

O Sapientia.

O Wisdom, who didst issue out of the mouth of the most High, and dost reach from one end of the world to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.


Suggested Carol: “Picture a Christmas,” Children’s Songbook, 50.



December 18

Suggested Story: Trouble at the Inn” by Dina Donahue.  Another one of my favorites, this touching story is about a mentally slow boy whose tenderness causes a rather surprising change in the community Christmas pageant.

The words of Alma to the people of Gideon:

“But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying—Repent ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.

“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.” (Alma 7:9–10)

O Adonai
    

O Lord and Ruler of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in a burning bush, and didst give him the law on Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.

Suggested Carol: “Oh, Hush Thee, My Baby,” Children’s Songbook, 48.



December 19


The words of Samuel the Lamanite to the people of Zarahemla:

“And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name. 


“And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.  Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. 

“And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.  And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.  And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.  And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.” (Helaman 14:2–8)

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign to the peoples, at whom kings shall shut their mouths, and to whom the Gentiles shall pray: Come and deliver us, and do not delay. 


Suggested Carol: “Stars Were Gleaming,” Children’s Songbook, 37



December 20


The Annunciation to Mary:

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’

“And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’

Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.  For with God nothing shall be impossible.’

“And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.”  (Luke 1:26–38)

O Clavis David

O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel; who openest and no one shutteth, who shuttest and no one openeth: come and bring the prisoners out of the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. 


Suggested Carol: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” 100 Carols for Choirs, no. 50. 






December 21

Suggested Story: Once in a Lifetime Christmas” by Will Wright.  Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite stories that we read at Christmastime, recalling a Depression-era Christmas when an entire town worked together to give its children a Christmas they would always remember.



The visit to Elisabeth and the Magnificat:

“And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.’

“And Mary said, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.’

              “And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.” (Luke 1:39–56)
O Oriens

O Day-Spring, radiant everlasting Light, and Sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

Suggested Carol: “Away in a Manger,” Hymns, no. 206.






December 22




The angel’s words to Joseph:

“When as . . . Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 

“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.’

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son . . .” (Matthew 1:18–25)

O Rex gentium

O King of the Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone who dost unite the divided into one: Come and save mankind, whom thou didst create out of clay.

Suggested Carol: “When Joseph Went to Bethlehem,” Children’s Songbook, 38






December 23

Suggested Story: Unexpected Christmas” by Marguerite Nixon. Another one of my favorites, this story tells of a city couple that learns the true meaning of Christmas when they are forced to spend Christmas Eve with a humble farming family.

The words of the Lord to Nephi, the son of Nephi, the son of Helaman:

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.  Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.” (3 Nephi 1:13–14)

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the One whom the Gentiles expect, and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Suggested Carol: “Once within a Lowly Stable,” Children’s Songbook, 41




December 24

The biblical Christmas story:

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1–7)

“And [Joseph] knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:25)

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:8–16)

Suggested Carol: “Silent Night,” Hymns, no. 204



Christmas Day

Although we do not usually hold a devotional on Christmas Day, a personal tradition of mine is to read or listen to George Durrant’s retelling of his missionary Christmas.  Alone, sick, and away from family, young Elder Durrant spent the day with the biblical Christmas story, gaining his own testimony that Jesus Christ was the Son of God (Durrant, “Don’t Forget the Star, 3038).

One of the Anglican collects for Christmas Day:

O God, thou makest us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of thy only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.




The Sunday after Christmas



Read Luke’ story of the Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:21–39), especially the prophecy of Simeon:



“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,

according to thy word:

For mine eyes have seen they salvation,

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

A light to lighten the Gentiles,

and the glory of thy people Israel.



“And Joseph and his mother marveled 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 2:29–35)




January 5 or 6



Suggested Story: The Other Wise Man” by Henry Van Dyke



Read the story of the Wise Men from Matthew 2:1–12



Suggested Carols: “With Wondering Awe,” Hymns, no. 210, and “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” The Christmas Songbook Treasury, 46.



After the Christmas Season


Read the stories of the Flight to Egypt and Return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:12–23) and of the Boy in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52).  After that, read one of the Gospels, or even all of them, between Christmas and Easter.  Perhaps beginning on Palm Sunday, read the accounts of the final days of the Savior’s life, preparing for the glad tidings of that season as we celebrate his suffering, death, and resurrection. §

2 comments:

  1. I have been thinking about Christmas today, and preparing an advent celebration for this year. As an LDS mom looking for resources, this post was exactly what I needed. I know this is a very old post, but it helped me today! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been thinking about Christmas today, and preparing an advent celebration for this year. As an LDS mom looking for resources, this post was exactly what I needed. I know this is a very old post, but it helped me today! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete