I’ve loved learning more about Jesus these past two weeks of January as the Come, Follow Christ study has changed its focus to the New Testament with the new year of 2023. Yay! We get to study the Four Gospels as a whole church and then the rest of the New Testament.
Here are my favorite videos from last week, when we studied Matthew 2 and Luke 2. It was Christmas all over again, this time in January, as we studied the Nativity Story. I loved it!
In the above and below videos, Hank Smith and John Bytheway studied Matthew 2 and Luke 2 with Dr. Bradley Wilcox. Brad’s a perfect guest to talk about the Christmas story since he loves Jesus so much and his birthday is on Christmas Day. (You can listen to one of my favorite talks about the grace of Jesus, done by Brad, over here.)
In the Part 2 video below, John talks about the three levels of Christmas, at the 23:26 mark:
Level 1: celebrating Santa Claus, reindeer, etc.
Level 2: celebrating Jesus Christ as a baby, who doesn’t demand anything of us, because he is peacefully sleeping during His “Silent Night.”
Level 3: celebrating and worshiping Jesus Christ in all His glory as a full-grown man who grew up after being a baby in the manger. He is the Christ the Lord who is not always silent; He does ask things of us. We are to fall down on our knees to worship Him. He is an adult now who requires things of us if we are to be His disciples and to live with Him again.
Also, in Part 2, at the 31:46 mark, Brad talks about Luke 2:52. I love what Brad says about this. This is the verse that says how Jesus grew. It says that He grew in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. Those are the four ways we can each grow: intellectually (wisdom), physically (stature), spiritually (favor with God), and socially (favor with man). This is the basis for the Children and Youth program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brad takes a few minutes to talk about how wonderful it is that the program helps children and youth to learn to turn to God in prayer to learn what goals to set in order to grow in each area. (This program came out in 2019 to replace the old program I grew up with that had a pre-determined list of goals for every Young Woman. The boys had the Scout program.)
He also points out this wonderfully super important point. He connects Luke 2:49 to Luke 2:52. In Luke 2:49. Jesus asks His parents if they would like Him to be about his father’s business, meaning Heavenly Father’s business. This was after they found him in the temple, talking to the doctors (teachers). (Interesting side note: Joseph Smith’s Translation shows that the doctors were asking Him questions.) So Brad explains that that is the context for us and our children and youth to set their goals. It’s important that we each set goals after praying to God the Father to know what goals He wants us to do to be about His business. That way the goal program is God-centered not self-centered.
Then I also loved this commentary by Jared Halvorsen, in the two videos below, of the Unshaken YouTube Channel.
Last, but certainly not least, here are two new videos by Rhonda and Farrell Pickering, about the Nativity and the dating of Christ’s birth. The way they put pieces of the puzzle together to show historical evidence of Christ’s birth is amazing!
The first video is so, so sweet. They talk about how important it is to be broken in order to receive Christ. Then the second video by the Pickerings below is about the dating of the birth of Christ. I can watch all these videos over and over and truly have an Endless Christmas, like John talks about in his videos at the top. I am full of awe and gratitude for our Beloved Savior Jesus Christ, for these truths and for the people who create this content. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!