02252_000_010You can prepare for Christmas now by remembering how others prepared for Him then.
Many prophets in the Bible and Book of Mormon foretold Jesus Christ’s birth and ministry hundreds of years before the actual event. For the 12 days before Christmas, this advent calendar will serve as a reference to scriptures about the birth and life of the Savior and activities you can do to be more Christlike. Read the scripture each day, and if you desire, try the corresponding activity. With your parents’ permission, you could use ideas from this calendar in family home evening.
President Thomas S. Monson has said: “For a few moments, may we set aside the catalogs of Christmas, with their gifts of exotic description. Let’s even turn from the flowers for Mother, the special tie for Father, the cute doll, the train that whistles, the long-awaited bicycle—even the books and videos—and direct our thoughts to God-given gifts that endure.” 1
When the Christmas season comes to a close, keep what you’ve learned in your mind and heart, and celebrate Christmas all year round by serving others.
Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament, prophesied that a pure woman would give birth to Heavenly Father’s Son. These scriptural accounts were written more than 700 years before His birth.
“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; see also 2 Nephi 19:6).
Prayerfully pick a friend, family member, or ward or branch member. Secretly leave him or her a small gift, like a treat, thought from the scriptures, or a Christmas card.
Nephi saw in a vision the virgin Mary and baby Jesus:
“And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
“And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
“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 11:18–21).
Make a Christmas list of things you’d like to give instead of things you’d like to get.
Prophets testified of Christ’s mission on the earth. The following is an account by the prophet Abinadi, who lived around 150 B.C.:
“And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
“And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, …
“… he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:5–7).
Make a Christmas treat, and give it to a family in your ward or branch. Giving will help increase ward unity and friendship.
Alma prophesied the following to the people of Gideon around 83 B.C.:
“The Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth. …
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, … she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of the people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy” (Alma 7:9–12).
Give the gift of service to someone in need. Invite your family to help you in identifying the service you could give.
Jesus Christ loves each of God’s children and would never forget a single one. Ezekiel prophesied that the Lord would be a shepherd and gather His lost sheep.
“For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
“As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places. …
“And I will bring them out from the people … and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 34:11–13).
Spend time with a younger sibling, relative, or friend. Read to him or her the Christmas story in Luke 2.
Although Jesus Christ was perfect, He still needed to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. The following is an account of Lehi’s prophecy, recorded by Nephi:
“And my father said he [John the Baptist] should baptize in Bethabara, beyond Jordan; and he also said he should baptize with water; even that he should baptize the Messiah with water.
“And after he had baptized the Messiah with water, he should behold and bear record that he had baptized the Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 10:9–10).
Give the gift of time by spending time with a sick, elderly, or widowed person in your ward or neighborhood. Ask him or her to tell you about a favorite Christmas.
Samuel the Lamanite prophesied of the signs surrounding the birth of the Savior:
“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 on his name.
“… 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 was day. …
“And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you” (Helaman 14:2–3, 5).
Write in your journal what Christmas means to you and what your family’s holiday traditions are.
Before Christ’s birth, the angel Gabriel visited Mary.
“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
“To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. …
“… For thou hast found favour with God.
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:26–28, 30–31).
Gather family members and friends to go caroling around the neighborhood, or sing Christmas carols in your own home.
Nephi, the grandson of Helaman, faithfully waited for the Lord’s coming. But the unbelievers said to him, “The time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain” (3 Nephi 1:6).
Then Nephi “went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to God in behalf of his people” (v. 11).
The Lord told Nephi, “Lift up your head 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 fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (v. 13).
In your prayers, express thanks to Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son.
Finally, the prophecies of Christ’s birth were fulfilled.
“And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken. …
“And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, … for the sign which had been given was already at hand. …
“And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. …
“And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word” (3 Nephi 1:15–16, 19, 21).
Jesus Christ gave us the greatest gift of all, His life. Show your appreciation to your parents by writing a letter thanking them for the good things they have done for you.
On the night of Christ’s birth, an angel appeared to righteous shepherds in Bethlehem to proclaim the news of Christ’s birth.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
“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, 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 2:7–11).
Make a resolution to be a happier and kinder person.
We, as Christians, stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ every day of the year through faith and good works. The Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon give this witness:
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).
Share your testimony of the Savior at the next appropriate occasion, such as fast and testimony meeting.
Illustrations by Scott Greer