Sermoncitos, a family tradition
Christmas Eve becomes a magical time as we share stories and experiences and take time to listen to one another. In order to accomodate all the religions and traditions of the winter season, the trend is to wish everyone “Happy Holidays”. However, we are of a particular religion and tradition that celebrates the coming of the Savior of of mankind. Every time we wish people a “Merry Christmas” we are bearing testimony. Although December is good for sharing the gifts and greetings of the season with our neighbors of every tradition, let’s be specific about our belief and testimony with our families, at least on our sacred day, Christmas Eve.
“And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings...” (Helaman 13:7). For centuries the prophets gave the people hope in the midst of their suffering by telling the good news, that a Savior would come to a troubled world.
“And behold, [Samuel] 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 in 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 were 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 the rising of the sun and also of its setting... and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold, a new star shall 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 whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life” (Helaman 14:2-8).
Our Christmas Eve is a celebration of lights. Let us use the symbols of the lights to remind our children of the great joy that came to all mankind when lights in the sky were a sign of His Holy Birth. “Lift up your heart 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 fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (3 Nephi 1:13).
“And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people were astonished because there was no darkness when the night came. And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear...” (3 Nephi 1:15-17). “And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets. And it came to pass that a new star did appear, according to the word. 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 11:20, 21)
This Christmas Eve, let us gather our children and be with our friends and make this a most sacred day of praise and worship and joy. Let us put our differences and offenses behind us today. Let us rejoice together, for the Creator of heaven and earth has come to us. Let us learn to come to Him. Let us make this a day to remember, a day for our children to remember. Merry Christmas!
Christmas Readings from the Book of Mormon
1 Ne 11:13
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 exeedingly fair and white.
and I beheld...a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
...Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings...
Away in a Manger (206) [ 7 ]
Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
And behold, [Samuel] 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 in 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 were day.
Oh Little Town of Bethlehem (208) [ 8 ]
Oh little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
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 the rising of the sun and also of its setting... and it shall be the night before he is born.
And behold, a new star shall 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 whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.
3 Nephi 1:13
Lift up your heart 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 fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing (209) [ 10 ]
Hark! the herald angels sing glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise; Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!
And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people were astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
:17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear...
:20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
:21 And it came to pass that a new star did appear, according to the word.
Silent Night (204) [ 9 ]
Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
‘round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace;
Sleep in heavenly peace.
1 Nephi 11:20
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.
What Child is This?
1 Nephi 11:24
...I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him.
And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost came down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.
Redeemer of Israel ( 6 ) [ 14 ]
Redeemer of Israel, our only delight,
On whom for a blessing we call,
Our shadow by day and our pillar by night,
Our King, our Deliverer, our all!
And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them.
And he spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.
1 Nephi 12:1
And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Look, and behold thy seed, and also the seed of thy brethren. And I looked and beheld the land of promise; and I beheld multitudes of people, yea, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea.
But it came to pass in the ninetieth year of the reign of the judges, there were great signs given unto the people, and wonders; and the words of the prophets began to be fulfilled.
And angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare unto them glad tidings of great joy; thus in this year the scriptures began to be fulfilled.
1 Nephi 11:32
And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.
There is a Green Hill Far Away (194) [ 32 ]
There is a green hill far away,
without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
1 Nephi 12:4
And it came to pass that I saw a mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise; and I saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all manner of tumultuous noises; and I saw the earth and the rocks, that they rent; and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw the plains of the earth, that they were broken up and I saw many cities that they were sunk; and I saw many that they were burned with fire; and I saw many that did tumble to the earth because of the quaking thereof.
And I saw the heavens open, and the Lamb of God descending out the heaven; and he came down and showed himself unto them.
3 Nephi 11:7
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name - hear ye him.
And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people saying:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ whom the prophets testified shall come unto the world.
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of the bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
And this is my doctrine... and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved, and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
...for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
Come Follow Me (116) [15 ]
“Come follow me”, the Savior said
Then let us in his footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God’s own loved, begotten Son.
And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
3 Nephi 12:20
Therefore, come unto me and be ye saved: for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore I would that ye should be perfect as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
3 Nephi 17:20
Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.
3 Nephi 11:41
Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.
Joy to the World (201) [ 6 ]
Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room.
And heaven and angels sing
And heaven and angels sing
And heaven and heaven and angels sing!
We tend to complain about the early coming of the Christmas season as scheduled by the merchants. I have decided to just enjoy the music and the stories that come with the season. The music carries a message that I need all year long. Let’s let the music change our hearts and learn to carry the story of Christmas in our hearts and actions all year long.
The plan of life and Salvation was established before the foundation of the earth. From the beginning of creation the prophets were given insights into the coming of a Savior who would make it possible for us to escape the bonds of death and hell. This required a miraculous birth, the Son of God born on the earth. The prophets did not distinguish in their writing between the first and the second coming of the Lord, they did see the beginning and the end of time, and the change that will eventually come to the earth. They even saw the end time when peace will reign.
"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." "The voice of him that cried 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 made low, the crooked 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)
All the prophets saw the day when Christ shall come again to cleanse the earth from all iniquity. Even though the signs of his coming are all about us, the people do not realize what the signs mean. Most will not prepare themselves to receive the King. When he comes he will purify his people and cleanse the earth.
"Thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come." (Haggai 2:6-7) "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) "But who may abide the day of his coming and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire" (Malachi 3:2) "And he shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness" (Malachi 3:3)
There is much in the old writings about the miracle of His birth. The New Testament is a witness of the fulfilling of these prophecies. The virgen birth is one of the proofs that Jesus is the literal Son of Heavenly Father, and the very Christ, the creator of heaven and eart,h.
"Behold! a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us" (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23) "O thou that tellest good tidings of Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" (Isaiah 40:9). "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60:1)
They saw the darkness of sin, the wonder of God living on the earth, and the light he could bring to the people who would hear His voice and follow Him. They foresaw the missionary efforts that would bring Christ to the people.
"For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee; and His glory shall be seen upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Isaiah 60:2-3) "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" (Isaiah 9:2)
As they realized who was this child, they marvelled that the Creator would live among us. They saw His times, when He would become one with us, and the end times when he will govern the earth and all nations of the earth.
"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" (Isaiah 9:6)
They even saw details of his birth and the joy that would come to the people of that day. Imagine living in the day of His birth and hearing the glorious announcement that the promised Savior had come!
"There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Luke 2:8) "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" (Luke 2:9) "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" (Luke 2:10-11) "And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill towards men" (Luke 2:13-14)
The people of that day who would hear the messengers and have Faith, not only rejoiced at the possibilities, but also received blessings from the hand of Christ.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, thy King cometh unto thee! He is the righteous Saviour, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen" (Zechariah 9:9-10) "Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing" (Isaiah 35:5-6) "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:11)
Those that listened and had faith in His name had their burdens lifted and peace in their hearts in spite of the turmoil around them.
"Come unto him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and he will give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of him, for he is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt. 11:28-29) "His yoke is easy and his burden is light."
The dreams and visions of Christmas are available to all, yet they only come true as we act in the Spirit of Christmas. Let us celebrate today and every day the victory of Christ over death and despair. Let us share that message of victory with all the earth. Let us accept the covenants that qualify us for His blessings. Let us give to others as Christ gave to us. Let us rejoice with all the earth and cry “Halleluyah”, to show we accept the rule of God in our lives.
"HALLELUYAH: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth (Rev. 19:6). The Kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (Rev. 11:1). King of kings, and Lord of lords. HALLELUYAH!" (Rev. 19:16).
Above is the text of portions of Handel’s Oratorio, “The Messiah”. The rest of the text is at: http://www.antipas.org/handel/midipage.html