Elder Ronald A. Rasband once shared that when he was called to be an Apostle, President Thomas S. Monson emphasized that he was now one of the “special witnesses of the name of Jesus Christ.”
“I did not take the charge lightly,” Elder Rasband said. So how did he respond to that high charge? He studied the names and titles of Christ in the scriptures—more than 200 of them. He focused on finding the significance of the name in his own life.
“I encourage you to know Him not only through His teachings, His miracles, and His parables but to know Him by His many names,” Elder Rasband said. “If you will study His many names, you will feel the love of the Lord in your life, and in the process, come to know Him for who He is.”
What a beautiful promise! And when is a better time to study Christ’s names than the Christmas season?
We’ve created an advent calendar based on 12 names of Christ. You and your family could take five to ten minutes to study a name per day leading up to Christmas. Or you review the whole calendar at once for a family night activity or even as a lesson in church. Our goal was to make the advent simple and approachable—a way for all of us to learn something new about Christ and feel His love fill our homes. Below, find a definition of the name, a scripture to read, and a question to ponder, discuss, or journal about.
And if you’d like to add a physical reminder of some of the titles of Christ to your holiday decor, we love this beautiful Names of Christ wood garland. You could drape it across your mantle, wrap it around your Christmas tree, or use it as a table runner.
Definition: Christ is a Greek word that means “the anointed.” If you’re curious about what anointed means, one definition of anoint in Merriam Webster is “to choose by or as if by divine election.” Guide to Scriptures describes anointed this way: “He is the one anointed of the Father to be the Father’s personal representative in all things pertaining to the salvation of mankind.”
Read: 3 Nephi 11:10–14
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
Ponder: How might you have felt if you were there to hear Jesus declare himself the Christ?
Definition: One who saves. Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, offered redemption and salvation to all mankind.
Read: 2 Nephi 25:20
And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
Ponder: Why is it important to know that only through Christ can we become truly whole and reach our potential? What is one way you could invite Christ more into your story?
Definition: Guide to the Scriptures says: “A form of an Aramaic and Hebrew word meaning ‘the anointed.’ In the New Testament Jesus is called the Christ, which is the Greek equivalent of Messiah. It means the anointed Prophet, Priest, King, and Deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting.”
Read: 2 Nephi 2:6, 26
Verse 2: Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
Verse 26: And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
Ponder: When it comes to your testimony of the Messiah, how do you choose to act rather than be acted upon? (Consider reading Elder David A. Bednar’s speech “Seek Learning by Faith.”)
Definition: Immanuel comes from words in Hebrew that mean “God with us.” Immanuel is a name-title given as a sign of God’s deliverance.
Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
Ponder: Why do you choose to go in the cause of Christ?
His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
Ponder: What aspects of that description of Jehovah stand out to you?
Definition: Jesus Christ is the great Redeemer of mankind because He, through His Atonement, paid the price for the sins of mankind and made possible the resurrection of all people.
Read: Matthew 20:28
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Ponder: When have you ministered to by the Savior? What could it look like to be ministered to by the Savior?
7. Holy One
Definition: Holy means, “Sacred, having a godly character, or spiritually and morally pure. The opposite of holy is common or profane.”
Read: 1 Nephi 20:17
And thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I have sent him, the Lord thy God who teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go.
Ponder: What is an example of one of Jesus Christ’s teachings that has made your life “profitable”? (And remember, profits don’t have to refer to money!)
Definition: According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, beloved means: dearly loved or dear to the heart. Some synonyms are cherished, precious, special, and loved.
Read: 3 Nephi 11:7
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
Ponder: In the scripture above, God is introducing the Savior to the Nephites. Of all the words He could have chosen, why do you think God introduced His Son as beloved? What could that choice teach us about God?
9. Alpha and Omega
Definition: Alpha: First letter of the Greek alphabet, often used in conjunction with Omega, the last letter, and applied as descriptive names of the all-encompassing nature of Christ, being the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Omega: The last letter of the Greek alphabet, used to denote Christ, who is the final goal of all creation.
For verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
Ponder: How can you invite Christ to be the author and finisher of your own life story? (Consider reading “Invite Christ to Author Your Story” by President Camille N. Johnson)
10. Light of the World
Definition: In the Guide to the Scriptures under Light of Christ it reads: “Divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. It is the law by which all things are governed in heaven and on earth (Doctrine and Covenants 88:6–13). It also helps people understand gospel truths and helps to put them on the gospel path that leads to salvation.
Read: John 8:12
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Ponder: How would you describe the feeling of having light in your life? What have you found brings the light of Christ into your life?
11. Prince of Peace
Definition: This quote from Elder Quentin L. Cook may help you better understand what it means that Christ is the Prince of Peace: “The Savior is the source of true peace. Even with the trials of life, because of the Savior’s Atonement and His grace, righteous living will be rewarded with personal peace.”
Read: John 14:26–27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Ponder: What do you think it means to “let not your heart be troubled?”
12. Good Shepherd
Definition: Symbolically, Christ’s followers are like sheep whom He watches over.
Read: Isaiah 40:11
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Ponder: Read the above scripture carefully. What does it teach us about the Savior’s nature?
We hope you enjoyed this advent, and we hope your family takes the opportunity to remember the true reason for the season and connect more deeply with Jesus Christ this Christmas.