He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
1. I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
2. I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
3. And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
4. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
5. Till, ringing, singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Read aloud: For a lot of people, one of their favorite parts about Christmas is the presents. Whether big or small, wrapped or unwrapped, presents can make us feel loved and bring us joy. But the best presents aren’t found underneath the Christmas tree. The best gifs have been given to us from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.Ask: What are some of the gifts Heavenly Father and Christ have given us? (Family, friends, life, agency, Christ’s Atoning sacrifice)
Read aloud: One of the best ways we can show gratitude for all of these amazing gifts is to give a gift to Heavenly Father and Christ in return. President Henry B. Eyring said:
“The spirit of Christmas puts in our hearts a desire to give joy to other people. The celebration of Christmas helps us keep our promise to always remember the Lord and His gifts to us. And that remembrance creates a desire in us to give gifts to Him. He has told us what we could give Him to bring Him joy. First, we can, out of faith in Him, give a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We can repent and make sacred covenants with Him. With all the kindnesses we give for Him, the greatest we can offer is to point those we love and serve toward Him, the only source of eternal life.”
Ask: Do you know what it means to have a broken heart and contrite spirit?
Read aloud: Having a broken heart and contrite spirit means we are willing to follow Christ and do whatever He asks of us. This means we follow the commandments, even when it’s hard, repent when we do wrong, and always keep trying to be better.
After we do everything we can to help ourselves follow Christ, President Eyring says there is another gift we can give Christ.
“Second, you can give Him the gift of doing for others what He would do for them.”
Jesus Christ told us many ways we can serve others. Have someone read Matthew 25: 37-40.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Read aloud: In this scripture, Christ is teaching us that whenever we do something good for someone else, such as feeding the hungry or helping the sick, we are actually helping Him.
Each act of kindness to anyone becomes a kindness to Him because He loves all of Heavenly Father’s children. This brings both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ joy. This is a great gift to them!
Ask: With this in mind, what gifts to do we want to give Christ this Christmas? Discuss as a family what are some ways you can strengthen your resolve to follow God and serve others.
*For Teenagers and Adults*
Watch this video with your family:
Ask: What is the point this video is trying to make? Why do you think it’s important to remember the gift that Christ is to us? How has Christ been a gift in your life?
Read aloud: Just as Christ himself is a gift, He has given us the perfect example of giving gifts. During this Christmas season, we can find both great purpose and symbolism in the tradition of gifts and presents. As we learn more about the gift that Christ is to us, we naturally have a desire to give Him a gift in return. President Ezra Taft Benson once said:
So I ask you, what can we possibly give to the Lord this Christmas time? Considering all that He has done and is doing for us, there is something that we might give Him in return.
Christ’s great gift to us was His life and sacrifice. Should that not then be our small gift to Him—our lives and sacrifices, not only now but in the future?
A few years ago my colleague Elder Boyd K. Packer said this: “I’m not ashamed to say that … I want to be good. And I’ve found in my life that it has been critically important [to establish this intention] between me and the Lord so that I knew that he knew which way I committed my agency. I went before Him and said, ‘I’m not neutral, and you can do with me what you want. If you need my vote, it’s there. I don’t care what you do with me, and you don’t have to take anything from me because I give it to you—everything, all I own, all I am—,’ and that makes the difference.”
Similarly, Elder Neal A. Maxwell talked about his feelings on giving everything to the Lord as a gift:
“The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!”
Ask: What does that mean to you to submit your will to God? What are some things that stop us from doing so? How can we better place our will on God’s altar?
Finish the lesson by sharing any personal experiences about how submitting your will to Christ blessed your life and inviting everyone to think of something they would like to give Christ this Christmas.
Christmas Crunch or Christmas Tree Pull-Apart
-1/2 cup popping popcorn kernels, or 2 bags tender white popcorn
-1 (12 oz) bag Vanilla Candy Melts (such as Wilton Candy Melts)
-1 1/3 cups broken pretzel pieces
-1 (12 oz) bag green and red Milk Chocolate or Mint M&Ms
-Red, green and white Sprinkles (I used Jingle Mix Nonpareils)
Pop popcorn in a popcorn popper into a large bowl (or alternately in the microwave if using microwave bags of popcorn) according to manufactures directions. Remove any unpopped popcorn kernels. Toss in broken pretzel pieces and M&Ms.
Melt Vanilla Candy Melts in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Drizzle half of melted chips over popcorn mixture, then stir, tossing gently a few times with a rubber spatula. Then drizzle remaining half of melted chips over popcorn, and gently stir mixture until evenly coated (don’t over stir though or your sprinkles wont stick if the white chips begin to set and harden).
Pour mixture into a single layer onto wax paper. Sprinkle entire mixture evenly with sprinkles (as many as you’d like) before vanilla chips set. Allow to cool and harden, then gently break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
(Courtesy of Cooking Classy)
-1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated artisan pizza crust with whole grain or Pillsbury® refrigerated regular pizza crust
-4 oz, or half brick, cream cheese
-1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 clove garlic, minced very fine
-3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil and rosemary
-1 cup warmed marinara sauce for dipping
Heat oven to 400°. Lay pizza dough on a work surface and stretch to a 10 x 15 inch size. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 36 equal squares. In a small bow, combine cream cheese and shredded cheese. Mix well.
Add one tablespoon of the cheese mixture to each dough square. Make a ball with the dough, sealing the edges. Place on a cookie sheet in a Christmas tree form as shown in the photos above. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes, or until golden brown.
After removing pull-apart from the oven, brush with butter and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve pull apart with marinara sauce.
(Courtesy of Eclectic Recipes)
My Gift to the Savior Handout or Service Stocking
My Gift to the Savior Handout
Pass this handout to each member of your family. Give them time to complete it after the lesson, while playing some Christmas hymns in the background. Depending on time and resources, you can either give each member of the family a small box to decorate and paint (we suggest small wooden boxes from a craft store) or choose a decorative box for the whole family. Once decorated or chosen, have everyone put their “gifts” into the box/boxes. Place the boxes under the tree until after Christmas is over, and then put your box somewhere visible in the home. This is meant to serve as a reminder for the upcoming year. When Christmas rolls around again, open your boxes, read off your gifts and see how you did. Then, repeat the activity.
Give a gift to the Savior by serving others. Give each family member a stocking and go to your local drugstore or supermarket. Tell each member of your family to think of someone in need and have them go throughout the store picking things to fill the stocking up with. Place monetary limitations as necessary. After purchasing the items and removing the price tags, go and deliver the stockings by ding-dong ditching them or leaving them somewhere safe. If you feel it is appropriate, feel free to deliver the stockings in person.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.