angels visit shepherds Christmas nativity

Editor’s note: Yesterday, in Relief Society class (Relief Society is the women’s organization in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the presidency of the local congregation’s (ward) Relief Society group gave a beautiful Christmas lesson. They each shared a personal Christmas experience and shared messages of testimony and faith about our Savior. I loved so much of what was said, some of which reflected and resonated with very personal spiritual impressions and experiences that have been a part of my individual Christmas celebration and focus this month.

There is so much for us to receive from God in the message of the Christmas story, so much truth about His love and reality and plan for us. So many miracles to reflect on. We spend time giving gifts to each other during this season, but there is so much that our Heavenly Father and Savior have given us. I appreciated the reflections on these gifts.

I also love how the Christmas story is a testimony that we worship a God of miracles. Following are the reflections that the Relief Society president, Corinne, shared about Christmas miracles. It made me want to ponder my own Christmas miracles happening in my life, and to ponder the tender mercies of God that can be evident every day as I seek to have eyes to see.

The following song was sung as part of the lesson. It’s a beautiful song often shared at Easter, but I think it’s also a wonderful Christmas song. I pray during this holiday time that we can ponder how God is working in our lives, even through hard times we might be experiencing (or seeing others experience, such as those in Connecticut who recently lost loved ones). Heavenly Father is there. His miracles are real. The greatest miracle of all is that through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can find peace in this life and know that eternal blessings also await us.

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Christmas Miracles, by Corinne

In the gospel sense, miracles can be defined as “those occurrences wrought by the power of God which are wholly beyond the power of man to perform.”

The Christmas story itself it comprised of one miracle after another. Here are just a few I have thought of:

1) It’s a miracle that Mary’s cousin, Elisabeth, became pregnant in her old age, after being barren all her life. The angel Gabriel appeared to her husband, Zacharius, and told him his wife would bare a son whom they should name John, and that he would prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Because Zacharius could not believe they would have a child in their old age, he was told he would be unable to speak until his baby was born. Later, when the baby was delivered, relatives questioned him what the child’s name would be. He wrote on a tablet, “His name is John,” and at this point, his tongue was loosed, and he spoke, praising God. All a coincidence? No.

2) It’s a miracle that the sign which Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied (that of a day and a night and a day with no darkness), came to pass when it did. Wicked unbelievers had created a deadline of when the sign had to occur, or they would put to death all the believers of Samuel’s prophesy. The sign occurred the very night before the deadline. Just a coincidence? No.

3) It’s a miracle that a very faithful man named Simeon had it revealed to him through the Holy Ghost that he would not die before he had seen the Christ. Simeon was led by the Spirit to the temple, where Mary and Joseph had brought their baby, Jesus, to present and dedicate him to the Lord. Mary and Joseph made no announcement that their child was the Christ; Simeon knew who He was when he saw him. He picked up the child in his arms and praised God saying “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace…For mine eyes have seen thy salvation; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” A mini-miracle granted to Simeon for his faithfulness.

4) It’s a miracle that Mary was also visited by the angel Gabriel and told that she would conceive a Son, who should be named Jesus, and would be the Son of God. It’s a miracle that Joseph, the man to whom she was espoused, married her, since in Jewish culture at this time, an unmarried woman found to be expecting a child was subject to being stoned to death. When Joseph found out Mary was expecting a child, he chose to be merciful to her and “put her away privily.” It was after he made the decision to be merciful that he was visited in a dream by an angel and told not to be afraid to marry her- that the child she was carrying was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and was the promised Messiah.

5) It was a miracle that humble shepherds were notified of the Savior’s birth in such an amazing way- by an angel of the Lord, announcing that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, followed by a heavenly host singing praises.

6) It was a miracle that Wise Men followed a star in the east “to come and worship the King of the Jews.” No doubt, these were probably inspired men of God; perhaps prophets. It was a miracle that after they found & worshiped Jesus, they were warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod (Herod had requested they bring him word of where the child was so he could destroy him). An angel of the Lord also appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to flee with his family into Egypt in order to protect Jesus from Herod. All miracles in my eyes.

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What miracles do you see in your life?