Get the full lesson, "The Birth of Jesus Christ: 'Glad Tidings of Great Joy,'" from The Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith at LDS.org.
Note: As the Church has said, the manual has been prepared as the primary source of lesson material. These supplements, from general conference addresses, are meant only as a complement to your study on this lesson's topic.
Supplements are from "The Gifts of Christmas" by President Henry B. Eyring from the 2011 Christmas Devotional and "Seeing Christmas Through New Eyes" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the 2010 Christmas Devotional.
President Eyring ("The Gifts of Christmas"):
"One of the most beautiful symbols of the birth of Jesus Christ into this world is light. The appearance of the long-promised Messiah brought light to a darkened world.
We know from the true record in the Book of Mormon that God’s prophets had long taught the people that light would be a sign of the birth of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. Samuel the Lamanite prophesied years before the birth of Jesus:
'Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
'And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day . . .
'And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
'And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven . . .
“And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.'
Just as beautiful lights in this Conference Center tonight help us remember the wonderful blessing of the birth of our Redeemer, so does hearing the words of angels sent from God. No recounting of the Christmas story is complete without hearing words of an angel sent to prepare the way for His arrival. At the heart of the account of the birth of Jesus Christ is the testimony of angels, as recorded by the Apostles Jesus called and ordained."
President Uchtdorf ("Seeing Christmas Through New Eyes"):
"Isn’t this a wonderful time of the year! So many things fill our hearts with the spirit of Christmas: the melody of Christmas carols, the lights, the decorations, and the happy greetings of “Merry Christmas!”
There are certain words that ring like bells in my soul and remind me of the beauty and meaning of Christmas—words such as “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus”1 and, of course, “Joy to the World!” “Away in a Manger,” and “Silent Night.”
There are other words, more cautionary, that are worthy of our consideration as well—words such as:Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot . . .
But the Grinch,
Who lived just north of Who-ville,
The Grinch, that memorable character from a classic children’s story by Dr. Seuss, had a heart that “was two sizes too small,” and he hated everything about Christmas. Through the course of the story, however, he undergoes a dramatic transformation when he learns that there is more to Christmas than decorations and gifts.
Perhaps the Grinch’s story is so memorable because, if we are honest, we may be able to relate to him. Who among us has not felt concern over the commercialization and even greed of the Christmas season? Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed by the packed calendars, the stress of finding gifts, the pressure of planning meals and events? In fact, psychologists tell us that during this season of cheer and goodwill, many feel sorrow and depression.
We know what the Christmas season ought to be—we know it should be a time of reflection on the birth of the Savior, a time of celebration and of generosity. But sometimes our focus is so much on the things that annoy and overwhelm us that we can almost hear ourselves say in unison with the Grinch: “Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now! I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! . . . But HOW?”
While it’s true that we can find materialism and anxiety in Christmas, it is also true that if we have eyes to see, we can experience the powerful message of the birth of the Son of God and feel the hope and peace He brings to the world. We, like the Grinch, can see Christmas through new eyes."
For additional lesson ideas, watch this moving video depicting the birth of the Savior from lds.org.