Families all over the world will read "the Christmas story" found in Luke 2 in the next week. But is the story of Christmas simply found in the passages about the Savior's birth? What would happen if we read not only passages from His birth but also from the end of the Savior's life? Sister Neill F. Marriott was surprised to find that the two sets of scriptures tend to parallel each other. While one set is "tender and gorgeous," and the other is "public and grim," there are undeniable similarities.
Sister Marriott, former second counselor in the general Young Women presidency, is currently serving a mission in Portugal with her husband, David, but she was kind enough to give LDS Living readers the beautiful gift of a special Christmas reading (that can also be used at Easter) that she prepared years ago during their previous service as mission president and wife in Brazil.
"A poignant juxtaposition of the Savior’s quiet, heavenly birth with the public and cruel turmoil of his last mortal week gives one a deep gratitude for this gift of The Father and His perfect Son, Jesus Christ," Sister Marriott told LDS Living in an email. "I hope the reader will ponder the infinite goodness of the gift and accept it with an open heart."
The First and Last Days of the Savior's Mortal Life
And Joseph also went up from Galilee … unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And they brought the colt to Jesus, and he sat upon him. .. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem and into the temple.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered and she brought forth her firstborn Son.
John 16: 28 and Luke 22: 19-20
I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Matt 26:36, Mark 14:36-37, Luke 22: 42 and 44
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane. …Then saith he unto them… tarry ye here, and watch with me.
…And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly… And when he rose up from prayer, he cometh and findeth them sleeping, and saith, couldest not thou watch one hour?
Luke 2: 9-12
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them … And the angel said unto them, … unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And Herod and his men of war set him at nought,…. and mocked him…and stripped him… and put on him a scarlet robe.
Luke 2: 13-14
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
…Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him…And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him!
Luke 2: 15-16
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass..
Mark 15: 16-20 (in part) Luke 23:49
And they...platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,… and [they] led him out to be crucified. …And all his acquaintances… stood afar off, beholding these things.
Luke 2: 16
And [the shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Luke 23: 50-53 (in part)
And, behold, there was a man named Joseph… of Arimathaea… who took the body of Jesus .. and laid it in a sepulchre…
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen…
Luke 24: 1-6
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre,… and found not the body of the Lord Jesus and … behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: ...they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.
… these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.