Tidings of Great Joy!


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 sweeping the earth.

We know that you boys and girls sense this uneasiness and that sometimes you are afraid. Whenever you have fearful thoughts, we urge you to remember the next words of the angel of the Lord on that holy night of Christ’s birth: “… 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.)

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.

We are reminded of a young boy whose home was threatened by a severe storm. All day there had been reports of it on the radio and when evening came, he and his mother heard frightening warnings. The boy grew more and more upset. Suddenly, with a loud crash, the power failed. The radio became silent and the house was plunged into darkness. Then the mother heard muffled sobs from her young son.

“Try not to be upset,” she told him. “We’ve prepared as well as we could. After all, we are together, and there’s nothing more we can do about it.”

“I know,” he answered. “I know there’s nothing we can do about it. But isn’t there something more we can do about us?

So in the darkness the mother and the boy knelt together and prayed for courage and comfort and safety. The storm did not cease, but a sweet peace came to them and stayed in their hearts until help arrived.

Peace will also be yours under all circumstances if you make Christ the central figure in your life, just as He is the focus, or central figure, in every nativity scene you see or make. Then, even though you may not be able to change the circumstances that distress you, your fears will be replaced by a comforting faith. By trusting Him and by always trying to obey His commandments, you can almost feel His presence near to give you courage and comfort and peace.

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.

At this joyous Christmas season, we remind you of what Paul the apostle said: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7.)

Our prayer for you at this Yuletide 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.

Spencer W. Kimball
N. Eldon Tanner
Marion G. Romney
Gordon B. Hinckley

[illustration] © LDS