12- This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
1. The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Born is the King of Israel!
2. They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.
1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
2. The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes;
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
3. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven, to live with thee there.
Asleep, asleep, asleep, the Savior in a stall!
[2nd part] Asleep, asleep,
Asleep, asleep, asleep, the Lord of all.
[2nd part] asleep, asleep, asleep, the Lord, the Lord of all.
*For Younger Children* Read or tell “Sharing Christmas” (Friend Dec 2011). Testify of the importance of showing love to others and how it makes us happy.
Sarah sat in her room playing with her dolls. She was changing them into their best clothes for a Christmas party she was hosting. Everyone was invited: Mr. Snuggles, the teddy bear; Chocolate and Caramel, the raccoon twins; Lady Juniper, the ladybug; and many of their friends.
As Sarah began to introduce her guests to each other, Mom walked into the room.
“Sarah, Dad and I were talking about what service we could do this Christmas. We thought we could give gifts to the children’s home down the road.”
“OK,” Sarah said.
“We were wondering if you would like to donate some of your toys,” Mom said. “I know that it would mean a lot to the children. They probably won’t be getting many new toys for Christmas.”
“But I don’t want to get rid of my toys! I love them all!” Sarah said.
“What about this stuffed cow?” Mom asked.
“I’ve never seen you play with her. Are you sure you want to keep her?”
“What if I decide I want to play with her after I give her away? Then I won’t have her anymore!” Sarah said.
“The purpose of serving is to think about the needs of others before yourself,” Mom said. “When you make a sacrifice to help someone else, you are becoming more like Jesus Christ.”
“I am?” Sarah asked. “How?”
“What did Jesus do when He was on the earth?”
“He helped people.”
“Right! He spent His life serving others,” Mom said.
“So if I give away something important to me to help others, I am being like Jesus?” Sarah asked.
“Exactly,” Mom said.
Sarah knew Mom was right, but she was still a little nervous about giving up Moo-Moo.
That weekend, Sarah and Mom and Dad went to the children’s home with a big bag of gifts. As the children opened their presents, their smiles grew bigger and bigger.
One little girl picked up a box wrapped in shiny red paper. Sarah watched as the girl carefully unwrapped the present. Inside the box was the stuffed cow.
“Her name is Moo-Moo,” Sarah said to the girl. “And she loves parties.”
A smile spread across the face of the little girl. She hugged Moo-Moo tight and looked up at Sarah. “Thank you,” she said. “I’ve never had my own stuffed animal before.” The girl skipped away with her new toy.
Sarah felt happy. She imagined Jesus must have felt happy too when He helped people.
“I want to come back next Christmas,” Sarah said as she and her parents left the children’s home. “I think I have more toys I can give away next year.”
Discuss the following questions as a family:
1- What did Sarah’s parents ask her to give away?
2- How did Sarah feel when she saw the little girl open the present with the stuffed cow, Moo-Moo?
3- Was Sarah happy?
4- Did she want to come back next year?
Testify of the importance of showing love to others. It makes us, others & Jesus happy,
*For Teenagers or Adults* Read or share excerpts from”A Glorious Season” by President Hinkley (New Era Dec 2007). Testify of the importance of remembering the true meaning of Christmas and the blessings of love.
A Glorious Season
In each of us there is at Christmastime something of our childhood. We all revel in the fun of Christmas—of giving and receiving tinseled presents, of singing favorite carols, of feasting on goodies we never miss at other seasons, of gathering together as family and friends, all having a wonderful time.
But there is something else, something better, and that is to sit together as families and read again the fascinating story of the birth of Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem of Judea.
A Season to Remember the Savior
It is proper during this season when we commemorate His birth that we remember the Lord Jesus Christ in reverence and with love. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has brought meaning to our mortal existence. He has given us the gift of eternal life.
When all is said and done, when all the legions of the ages have passed in review, when man’s terrible inhumanity to man has been chronicled, when God’s great love for His children has been measured, then above all stands the lone figure of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the living Son of the living God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One.
Isaiah spoke of Him centuries before His coming: “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).
Nephi, long before the Master’s birth, was given a vision of His coming. He saw in that vision the mother of Christ, “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (1 Nephi 11:15).
Of her He was born in Bethlehem of Judea, and the angel said unto Nephi, “Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Nephi 11:21).
And Nephi “beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and … they cast him out from among them.” And He “was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 11:28, 33).
All of these ancient visions were fulfilled. He came to earth. He walked the dusty roads of Palestine, teaching the people, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, raising the dead, giving His life on Calvary’s cross, and rising on the third day to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
He had been the Creator of this earth, under His Father’s direction, for as John records, “without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). He was the great Jehovah who spoke with the prophets of old.
He was the lowly babe who came to earth in the meridian of time and brought to us the gift of Christmas. He was the Resurrection and the Life, who brought to us the wonder of Easter.
There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.
I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal, Living God. None so great has ever walked the earth. None other has made a comparable sacrifice or granted a comparable blessing. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I declare His divinity without equivocation or compromise. I love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His Beloved Son who reached out long ago and said to each of us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
A Season of Increased Love
And so at this Christmas season, we sing His praises and speak our words of faith and gratitude and love. It is His influence in our lives that stirs within us more kindness, more respect, more love, more concern. It is because of Him and His teachings that we reach out to those in trouble, distress, and need wherever they may be.
What a glorious season is this time of Christmas. Hearts are softened. Voices are raised in worship. Kindness and mercy are reenthroned as elements in our lives. There is an accelerated reaching out to those in distress. There is an aura of peace that comes into our homes. There is a measure of love that is not felt to the same extent at any other time of the year.
Said Jesus: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matthew 7:12.)
May I remind us at this Christmas season that if only each of us would reflect occasionally on that Christ-given mandate and make an effort to observe it, this would be a different world. There would be greater happiness in our homes; there would be kinder feelings among our associates; there would be much less of litigation and a greater effort to compose differences. There would be a new measure of love and appreciation and respect.
There would be more generous hearts, more thoughtful consideration and concern, and a greater desire to spread the gospel of peace and to advance the work of salvation among the children of men.
A Season of Meditation
Christmas is more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of a hundred varieties. It is love. It is the love of the Son of God for all mankind. It reaches out beyond our power to comprehend. It is magnificent and beautiful.
It is peace. It is the peace which comforts, which sustains, which blesses all who accept it.
It is faith. It is faith in God and His Eternal Son. It is faith in His wondrous ways and message. It is faith in Him as our Redeemer and our Lord.
We testify of His living reality. We testify of the divinity of His nature. In our times of grateful meditation, we acknowledge His priceless gift to us and pledge our love and faith. This is what Christmas is really about.
For each of you may this be a merry Christmas. But more importantly, I wish for each of you a time, perhaps only an hour, spent in silent meditation and quiet reflection on the wonder and the majesty of this, the Son of God. Our joy at this season is because He came into the world. The peace that comes from Him, His infinite love which each of us may feel, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that which He freely gave us at so great a cost to Himself—these are of the true essence of Christmas.
Testify of the importance of remembering the true meaning of Christmas and the reason for the season.
Mint Chocolate Bark or Caramel Thumbprints
Mint Chocolate Bark
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
1- Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper; set it aside. Melt the semisweet chips in a heatproof bowl set atop a pot of simmering water over medium-high heat. Stir continuously until smooth. Pour the chocolate onto the cookie sheet and spread it to about a 1/4-inch thickness with the back of a spoon.
2- Using the same method, melt the white chocolate chips with the oil. Stir continuously until smooth. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring; stir well. Pour the mixture over the chocolate layer and spread to about a 1/8-inch thickness with the back of a spoon. Draw the tip of a butter knife through the layers to create swirls. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
3- Remove the bark from the pan. Peel off the waxed paper. Set the bark on a cutting board and cut it into 2 dozen bars with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, separated
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped pecans
26 chocolate-covered caramel candies, such as Dove or Rolo
1- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
2- Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture in two batches and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
3- Heat the oven to 350º. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white with a fork. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the pecans; put the rest on a plate. Roll 1 tablespoon of the dough into a ball, coat it with egg white, and roll it in the nuts. Repeat with the remaining dough. Put the cookies on the sheet, leaving about 3 inches between them. With your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie, then reshape the outside edges, if they crack.
4- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, then take them from the oven and gently press a caramel candy into each cookie. 6- Bake until the chocolate and caramel soften, about 4 minutes. Grease the tines of a fork with butter and press on each candy to flatten it slightly. Sprinkle on the reserved nuts, then cool the cookies on a rack.
(Recipes taken from Familyfun.go.com)
1- Go through your personal items (ie toys) and donate them.
2- Make Gingerbread houses.
3- Spend some time to meditate on what the Savior has done and write down your thoughts.
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.