We are a week away from Christmas, so I feel it essential that my VIP this week is Jesus Christ. Christmas includes many wonderful traditions, but most of the practices bring added stress to an already full schedule. It takes time and effort to make the house look exactly as we desire. It takes more time and work to bake cookies for the neighbors, or to shop for perfect presents, or to take part in the various activities of the family, Church, and community. With all that takes place in December, how do we keep Christ in Christmas?
Because I know that Jesus Christ is the reason that we celebrate Christmas, I continue my schedule of prayer and scripture study in an effort to stay close to Him. Yet, I feel the stress of the season. I am grateful for the simple suggestion found in an excerpt from a book titled Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas. The excerpt gives seven easy and simple ways to remember that Jesus is the reason for celebrating Christmas. The recommendation is that we take a simple Nativity set and let it prompt us each day to remember to keep Christ in Christmas. Here are the suggestions with some questions to ponder for the final week before Christmas.
On the First Night: Monday, December 18. Display an empty stable in a prominent place within your home…. Read Luke 2:1, 3. On the night Jesus was born, the innkeeper made room for Him. Could you? How could you make room for the baby Jesus this week leading up to Christmas?
On the Second Night: Tuesday, December 19. Read Luke 2:4-7. Place the figure of Joseph into the waiting stable. On the night Jesus was born, Joseph acted with kindness. Could you? If you had been there on the night Jesus was born, what would you have done to help get the stable ready?
On the Third Night: Wednesday, December 20. Read Luke 2:6-7, 19. Place the figure of Mary into the waiting stable. On the night Jesus was born, Mary pondered all these things in her heart. Could you? What do you think Mary pondered in her heart the night Jesus was born?
On the Fourth Night: Thursday, December 21. Read Luke 2:8-10, 13-14. Place the angel into the waiting stable. On the night Jesus was born, angels rejoiced. Could you? Why do you think the birth of Jesus brought great joy?
On the Fifth Night: Friday, December 22. Read Luke 2:15-18. Place the shepherd into the waiting stable. On the night Jesus was born, the shepherds shared His goodness. Could you? If you had been a shepherd, what good news would you have shared about Jesus Christ?
On the Sixth Night: Saturday, December 23. Read Matthew 2:1-2, 11-12. Place the wise men into the waiting stable. On the night Jesus was born, the wise men began to seek Him. Could you? What is one way you could seek Jesus?
On the Seventh Night: Sunday, December 24. Read Luke 2:11-12. Place the baby Jesus into the waiting stable. On the night Jesus was born, those who love Him offered gifts from their hearts. Could you? What will be your gift to Jesus Christ this Christmas season?
I like these suggestions because they are simple and easy to do. Yet, they can focus my attention on the Savior and help me to follow the counsel of President Ezra Taft Benson.
And now, my beloved brothers and sisters, what must we do this Christmas season – and always? Why, we must do the same as the Wise Men of old. They sought out the Christ and found Him. And so must we. Those who are wise still seek Him today.
“I would commend you,” urged Moroni, “to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” (Ether 12:41.) And God has provided the means – the holy scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon – that all who seek may know that Jesus is the Christ….
The Book of Mormon was designed by Deity to bring men to Christ and to His church. Both we and our nonmember friends may know that the Book of Mormon is true by putting it to the divine test which Moroni proposed. (See Moroni 10:3-4.)
We can give a gift to ourselves by studying the Book of Mormon, which is another witness of Jesus Christ. We can also share that knowledge with our loved ones. We can keep Christ in Christmas by learning more about Him. We must seek Him as the Wise Men did.