Viewpoint: Treasure the Supreme Gift

Contributed By the Church News

  • 24 December 2015

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, … this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world” (3 Nephi 1:13).

“Even in a world where peace seems far off, the Savior’s gift of peace can live in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.” —Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy

In about 6 B.C. in what later became known as the Americas, Samuel the Lamanite prophesied that in five years the Son of God would be born.

There would 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” and there would be “one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there was no night” (Helaman 14:3–4).

The years passed. Unbelievers said that the time was past for the words of Samuel the Lamanite to be fulfilled. They made “a great uproar throughout the land” and set a day on which “all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass” (3 Nephi 1:7, 9).

The prophet Nephi, son of Nephi and grandson of Helaman, “went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith” (3 Nephi 1:11).

In what were to be the final hours of the besieged and condemned believers, the premortal Christ spoke to Nephi: “Lift up your head and be of good cheer, for behold, … this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world” (3 Nephi 1:13). That evening, “at the going down of the sun there was no darkness” and “a new star did appear” for all to see (3 Nephi 1:15, 21).

Added to the account of the miraculous events in the New World surrounding the birth of the Savior are sacred Old World testimonials:

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. …

“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. …

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. …

“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” (Luke 2:7–14).

It becomes our privilege each Christmas season to reflect upon this holy event and deepen our faith in Him. In the words of President Thomas S. Monson:

“We remember with gratitude that night of nights which marked the fulfillment of prophecy when a lowly manger cradled a newborn child. With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment, a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child, born in such primitive circumstances, was to be the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the promised Messiah—even Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (A Future as Bright as Your Faith [2015], 380).

A First Presidency Message issued in December 1982 contains this counsel:

Fear not were the first words of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem that holy night nearly 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was born.

“And fear not is our message to you at this Christmas season. Perhaps more than at any time since that sacred birth these words have great meaning, for a restless spirit of fear and uncertainty seems to be spreading all over the earth. …

“Just as the angel said to the shepherds, ‘Fear not,’ so the Lord has told all of us through the Prophet Joseph Smith to ‘be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you. …’ (D&C 68:6).

“We testify that His Spirit will be with you no matter where you are or what you do, that He loves you and, as promised, ‘will stand by you.’ Then, as you love Him and each other, remember always that you are truly children of God and that He cares about you at all times no matter who you are or where you live. …

“As you give and receive gifts this Christmas, remember that our Father in heaven gave to the world the supreme gift—His Beloved Son, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem. Then the Christmas holiday can become truly a holy day. …

“Our prayer for you at this Christmas season is that you will be able to overcome your fears and that you will know of the love of our Father in heaven, of His Son, Jesus Christ, and of our love and blessings for you, now and always” (“Tidings of Great Joy,” Liahona, Dec. 1982).

Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, speaking at this year’s First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, said, “The sweetest gift given at Christmas will always be the one our Savior Himself gave us: His perfect peace. … Even in a world where peace seems far off, the Savior’s gift of peace can live in our hearts regardless of our circumstances” (“Fear Not”).

May we all, as Heavenly Father’s children the world over, tune our hearts to the song of the angels and rejoice in the glad tidings proclaimed to the shepherds and to the world.