Here’s to another week of studying the New Testament! It was hard for me to separate chapters one and two when teaching and learning this with my family. I kept wanting to combine this lesson with last week’s! However, it’s been really great to focus only on one part at a time and take a moment to really focus on these different parts of the story that I usually lump together at Christmas.
Remember, you can send out three weekly reminders a week when you download our free New Testament textables! They are great for teens, groups, and even your ward!
These are great resources to study throughout the week as you prepare to teach this to your family or as you study it together.
“Prophetic Announcements of Christ’s Birth” by President Dallin H. Oaks
“Twelve Witnesses of Christ’s Birth” by Joseph Fielding McConkie
“The Greatest Story Ever Foretold” by Brother Keith H. Pryor
"The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas" by President Gordon B. Hinckley
Matthew 1-2 from the New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Matthew 1-4 from the New Testament Institute Manual
Matthew 1-2 from the New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students
Luke 2 from the New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students
“The Joseph Smith Translation” by David Rolph Seely (Ensign)
“Latter-day Clarity on Christ’s Life and Teachings” by Ray L. Huntington and Camille Fronk
Deseret Bookshelf PLUS Recommendations
These are great to listen together in the car on the way to school. My whole family loves listening to the youth speaker ones especially. Remember, as a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS member, you can access these eBooks or audio books anytime. Find out more about Deseret Bookshelf PLUS.
"Because of the Messiah in a Manger" by Brad Wilcox
"The Nativity: Rediscover the Most Important Birth in History" by Alonzo Gaskill
"Come unto Christ" by John Bytheway
Watch a video and discuss it after dinner, recap a part of the lesson before Church on Sunday, share a video in a group and discuss it together, or pause and discuss a video as part of your main lesson.
The Christmas Spirit- A little girl reminds her family of the real reason for Christmas (about 4 minutes)
What Shall We Give?- 4 minutes about what we really should give this Christmas
The Nativity- Bible video about 8 minutes
Good Tidings of Great Joy- About 5 minutes
A Gift to the World- About 9 minutes
Jesus Christ is Born- Illustrated scripture story (about 1 1/2 minutes)
The Wise Men- Illustrated scripture story (about 1 minute)
The Wise Men Seek Jesus- Bible video (about 5 1/2 minutes)
Shepherds Learn of the Birth of Christ- Bible video (about 3 minutes)
Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem- Bible video (about 2 minutes)
The Christ Child is Presented at the Temple- Bible video (about 2 minutes)
The First Christmas Spirit- Bible video (about 6 1/2 minutes)
That He May Become Strong Also- Talk from President Henry B. Eyring (about 17 1/2 minutes)
Questions to Ponder
Use these questions to help you ponder as you do your personal studies, encourage journaling for your kids, text them to a friend or child to get the conversation going, or take them with you in the car and randomly draw from a bag as you carpool to school or your next practice. These go beyond the questions in the manual.
What’s something about the story of Christ’s birth that you hadn’t noticed before? Why is it significant?
What’s your favorite part of the story of Christ’s birth?
What lessons can you learn from the story of Christ’s birth?
Imagine what it would have been like to be in the stable when the Savior was born. How do you think Mary and Joseph felt?
How do you think the Wise Men felt when they saw the Savior for the first time? What do you think kept them going when their journey seemed too long?
What do you think it would have been like to be friends with Jesus when He was a youth?
Why do you think Jesus Christ was born in humble circumstances instead of worldly grandeur?
Which person in the story of Christ’s birth can you relate to the most? Why? What insight do you gain from thinking about this story from that person’s perspective?
What are some ways you worship the Savior? Is there anything you want to improve in the way you worship?
What additional insights do the verses in the Book of Mormon give you about the Savior?
How have you seen your parents protect your family?
When have you received heaven’s help?
What are some spiritual and physical dangers that you and your family face? How can you avoid these dangers? What can you do to be spiritually in tune to spiritual warnings?
What are some lessons you have learned from children?
How have you seen children and youth following the Savior’s example of going “about [their] Father’s business”?
How has the JST helped you better understand the scriptures?
How does knowing the birth story of the Savior increase your testimony?
In what ways can you go about your Father’s business? How have you previously?
How can you as a family help each other go about your Father’s business?
What does Luke 2:52 mean to you? How can you increase in wisdom and favor with God and man?
What are some things found in Luke 2 that help you understand that Christ was no ordinary child?
What do you think the main differences are between those who came unto Christ and those who ignored or even wished Him harm?
Why do you think there were so many witnesses to the birth of Jesus Christ? What can we learn from each account?
What have you done to protect your family? How has God helped you protect your family?
What additional insight does the Joseph Smith Translation offer in these chapters?
These are my ideas. My hope is that my thoughts may be a springboard to your own great ideas that are right for you and your family. Some ideas are for families with young children while others might be for widows meeting together as a group. Read through and find what’s right for your situation.
Jesus Christ was born in humble circumstances
Use last week’s shadow puppets to continue telling the story this week! (There are also bag puppets) And of course, you can act the story out! There are even scripts included in the Activity Page section below.
As you study Christ’s birth story, record your own as well. Use my Birth Story activity sheet to write down the key details and information. You can draw pictures of the events as well as a “baby photo.” Then see what things your story might have in common with Christ’s story.
Use my Nativity scene cut outs to encourage discussion! Write a question on the back of each piece (Use my questions above or make your own). Take turns answering questions and adding to the nativity scene. For added fun, hide the pieces in Easter eggs around the room!
Take a walk in another person’s shoes! Get different shoes for each of the different people in the shown study sheet above. As each person puts on a pair of shoes, have them try to see the story from their perspective. Read a few verses about their experiences then ask how they might have felt.
Look for scriptures that describe each person’s interactions with the Savior in Matthew and Luke 2 with the study sheet above. Write the scripture references and the things you learn about the Savior on the study sheet. Want a half sheet instead? You can adjust your printer settings to print it at a half sheet size instead! (Note: For me, it’s easier to adjust the printer settings in Microsoft Edge)
Many Witnesses of the Birth of Christ
Help your family visualize the stories of the different witnesses as you tie the locations of these happenings. Use string to attach the figures to the location on the map. You can hang the map on your bulletin board and let the witnesses hang down as a reminder throughout your week. Then use it as a quick review before church!
Play a fun guessing game! Attach one of the Guess Who Christmas Cards (included in my free handouts for Primary 6 Lesson 46) to the back of each person as they come together for your lesson. Each person has to figure out what name is on their back by asking only Yes or No questions! After everyone has guessed who they are, discuss their role in the story.
Need to motivate with some chocolate? Discuss each witness with my chocolate nativity nugget wrappers. Each member of your group or family randomly draws a chocolate from the bowl. They then have to share about that person and what they learned from their interactions with the Savior.
Parents can receive revelation to protect their families
This would be a great time to review any emergency plans you have in place (or make them). For example, if there was a fire, what would your family do? Where is your meeting spot? If there is an emergency, who should they call?
Even as a youth, Jesus focused on doing His Father’s Will
Write down some ways your family or group can go about our Father’s business using my worksheet above. Cut each strip so that it will be easy to rip off. Then as you do each activity throughout the week, remove it. See how many you can do in one week. Keep it up until you have done them all!
Get out your nativity set or build a manger quickly out of popsicle sticks. Then as your family does something to serve the Lord, they can add a piece of straw to the manger. The goal is to have a soft and full manger for the baby Jesus to lie in by the end of the week.
Have a younger audience? Play store! Make a sign for your store that says, “My Father’s Business.” Try to discuss some of the things that might be sold (kindness, sharing, cleaning up after ourselves, etc).
Joseph Smith Translation
Print out my JST info card and put it on your key ring with the Matthew and Luke profile cards. Show where your family can find the JST throughout the scriptures.
Learn more about the footnotes in the Bible as well! Head to ”Taking Note: Marking the Footnotes in the New LDS Edition of the Bible,” an article from the Ensign when the footnotes first came out. It explains what the different abbreviations mean, some of the ways it’s helpful, as well as gives suggestions for how you might want to mark them in your scriptures. See if you can find all the different examples in your scriptures as a family.
Use these activities during your lesson, as a morning activity reminder, or any other time to quietly reinforce this week’s lesson. Many of these resources are from LDS.org, however, some may be from other helpful bloggers.
Prophecies of Christ’s Coming- A 12 Day of Christmas prophecy countdown.
Nativity Figures and Facts- Make the picture with the fact
Scripture Ornaments- Answer the questions to put the scripture ornaments on the tree
The Greatest Gift- Ornaments with scriptures explaining their meaning
Testify of Jesus Christ- Match the prophets to their testimonies
Isaiah Prophesies of the Savior- Make this interactive picture to tell of his prohecies
The First Christmas- Dot to dot with Wise Men
What is Christmas?- Find the answer as you do each activity daily- each day includes a scripture to read too
The Nativity- Find the differences between these two pictures
Jesus Learned and Grew- Illustrated story for young children
Jesus Is Born- Illustrated story for young children
The Nativity- Color and glue to another sheet of paper to assemble
Nativity Craft- Make this simple stable and learn how to draw a sheep
Make Your Own Manger- Cute craft made with a paper bag
Nativity Cutouts- A pop out scene to assemble
The Wondrous Nativity- Another pop out scene to assemble
These posters would make great puzzles. You can also add yourself to some of them with some cutting and pasting. Others make great ones to share on social media or through email.
Christmas Programs to Act Out
Two Witnesses of Jesus' Birth (includes puppets for a shadow show)
Christmas Hymns Coloring Book- Great coloring book especially for older kids from A Lively Hope