My Come, Follow Me studies for this week was a week of preparing my heart and soul to celebrate Christmas. The lesson was introduced with the following information.
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
Christmas is a joyful season to most people in the world, even to
those who are not Christian. The Spirit of Christmas, or the Spirit of Christ, causes
good feelings among all people. For those in difficult circumstances, the important
Christmas message is that the Savior can ease our burdens and help us find peace
and joy. For His disciples, the Christmas season is full of joy as we join with
millions of other people in celebrating His birth and His life. The Christmas
season provides opportunities to spread the joy of Christ in service to other
people. Centuries before the Savior was born, the prophets in the Old Testament
also felt joy as they spoke of the coming of the Messiah.
Many of the traditions associated with Christmas can have symbolic
meanings that point us to Christ. Star-shaped decorations and cookies remind us
of the bright star that appeared in the sky on the night of the birth of Jesus.
Carolers can remind us of the angels who appeared to the shepherds and sang
hosannas in celebration.
M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught the
following about finding joy in learning about God’s plan for the salvation and
happiness of His children.
When the focus of our lives is
on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy
regardless of what is happening – or not happening – in our lives. Joy comes
from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at
Christmastime when we sing “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” [Hymns, no.
201]. And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is
Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding” [Philippians 4:7], He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, November 2016, 82).