Today people around the world are preparing for Christmas. Hopefully, all are preparing to celebrate on that special day the birth in a Bethlehem manger of the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), the Messiah (2 Ne. 25:19), the Redeemer of the world—Jesus the Christ. (D&C 19:1).
Beginning with Adam, prophets told of the coming of the Redeemer. Centuries before the birth of the Christ child, the prophets Isaiah and Nephi proclaimed that Jesus would be born of a virgin. Micah and Alma predicted the place of His birth. Other prophets such as Daniel and Samuel the Lamanite described further details of His earthly ministry. Hosea foretold His sojourn into Egypt.
The ancient prophets, before the birth of Jesus, told of the glories of His atonement, the miracle of His resurrection. They foretold His coming to open the way for a literal resurrection for all humankind and for eternal life for those who merit that “greatest of all gifts” (See D&C 6:13).
The Lord sent John the Baptist, one of the noblest of prophets, to “prepare the way” for the earthly ministry of the Christ. (1 Ne. 10:7).
Yes, there were centuries of preparation for the coming of the Lord.
In the spirit of those ancient prophets and of the Savior’s own words, may we prepare for this year’s observance of His birth. Some of the guidelines He has given us:
“Love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39)
“When thou doest alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee.” (Matt. 6:2)
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
“Be of good cheer.” (John 16:33)
“Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.” (Luke 6:27)
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40)
But there are other important preparations for us to contemplate at this season of the year; namely, those preparations we need to make for His Second Coming.
Our Redeemer has assured us repeatedly that He will come again to this earth, in full glory.
What a great event for which to prepare!
How should we prepare for His return?
Perhaps there is no better counsel for this preparation than that which Jesus described to His apostles:
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10.)
Jesus then told of the blessings that come from keeping His commandments:
“… that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11.)
May this be a joyful season of preparation for all mankind!
The First Presidency
Spencer W. Kimball
N. Eldon Tanner
M. G. Romney