When I was growing up, every December we would read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and Matthew 2 about Christ's birth in Bethlehem, the shepherds, and the wise men. But as Latter-day Saints, we know there's more to that story—there's a second Christmas account about what was happening in the Americas at the same time, found in the Book of Mormon.
Remember the Nephites and Lamanites in this year with these ideas for a Book of Mormon Christmas.
1. Sing or listen to Christmas songs based on Book of Mormon events.
The Christmas season is famous for its music, but some of the best Latter-day Saint Christmas songs you won't hear on the radio.
A favorite Latter-day Saint-specific Christmas song can be found in the Children's Songbook: "Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus." The Friend magazine has also published more fun Book of Mormon-inspired Christmas songs like "Samuel the Lamanite" and "First Christmas in America." Even some traditional hymns can be likened unto Book of Mormon events, such as"Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains."
Songs like these are a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and emphasize favorite Book of Mormon stories related to the season.
2. Follow a Book of Mormon advent celebration.
It's important to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season—and an advent celebration or reading list is a great way to take time every day to focus on the Savior. And, if you include some Book of Mormon stories, it's a great way to incorporate the "keystone of our religion" into your holiday, too.
Here are just a few great advent resources for LDS families:
Making Christmas Count: A Free, Card Advent Calendar (by Making Christmas Count)
Advent Calendar: Prophecies of Christ's Coming (from the New Era)
Christmas Scripture Advent Calendar (by Scriptures 365)
Christmas in the Book of Mormon (FHE + 12 Days Reading List)
3. Share Book of Mormon Christmas books and stories with your children.
My First Story of the First Christmas (paperback)
You can also find additional Christmas stories from Church magazines in this list of Christmas articles.
4. Before Christmas, read the prophecies of Christ's birth as told by Book of Mormon prophets.
Image from LDS.org
Many Book of Mormon prophets saw the birth of the Savior and prophesied of His coming, starting with Nephi. Other Nephite and Lamanite prophets who spoke of Jesus's birth include Alma the Younger, Samuel the Lamanite, and Nephi (grandson of Helaman).
Reading and comparing these accounts with other prophesies of Jesus's birth can help give us a more complete picture of the circumstances surrounding the first Christmas. It also helps us to remember that the Lord knows His sheep no matter where they are, even those scattered on the isles of the sea.
5. When you tell the Christmas story, include the events of Christmas day in the Americas as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
The Christmas story in the Book of Mormon is as miraculous as the one found in the Bible. We read in 3 Nephi 1 that on the very night the believers were to be killed, the sign of Jesus's birth is given along with many other "signs and wonders." (For a clearer picture of these "wonders," make sure to have read the accounts of prophecies listed above, for as Nephi explains, "it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.")
Imagine how you would have felt had you lived in the Promised Land then, after seeing the signs of the Savior's birth. These faithful Saints would have to keep Christmas in their hearts for 33 years before the resurrected Christ would be able to visit them. We have it pretty easy remembering the spirit of the season for just one year.
6. Give the best Christmas gift and share the Book of Mormon (or your testimony of the Book of Mormon) with someone.
Sharing your testimony or giving someone a Book of Mormon doesn't have to be a big deal, either. You can always slip one in along with other goodies and neighbor gifts. Or share a beautifully illustrated heirloom edition with an LDS family you know so they can more fully love and appreciate the Book of Mormon in their home.
No matter how you decide to do it, sharing the Book of Mormon and emphasizing it in your life (not only just at Christmas) will bring blessings.