The God of Israel, the Mighty One of Jacob was born as a vulnerable infant in the most humble of circumstances. “A tender plant,” Isaiah called Him, even “a root out of dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2, Mosiah 14:2). The angel who appeared to King Benjamin expressed the irony this way:
The Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay,Mosiah 3:5
The Savior’s birth was foretold by multiple Book of Mormon prophets, including Nephi, King Benjamin, Abinadi, and Alma, and they affirmed the significance of that event. Alma, for example, said, “There be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all—for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people” (Alma 7:7). These prophets knew that the Savior’s name would be Jesus and that His mother would be named Mary. (See 2 Nephi 25:19-20, Mosiah 3:8, Alma 7:10.)
The people described in the Book of Mormon knew that Jesus would be born in Jerusalem, but they were assured that they would be made aware of the event when it occured (Alma 13:24-26). Samuel the Lamanite gave the people a sign by which they would know that the Savior was born: a day, a night, and a day with no darkness. The sun would set, but it would be as bright as day (Helaman 14:2-4). Five years later, the prophecy was fulfilled, and the people fell to the earth in astonishment (3 Nephi 1:15-20).
Four hundred years later, the symbolism of the Savior’s birth was still meaningful. Mormon wrote to his son, Moroni, that he was praying for him “unto God the Father, in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus” (Moroni 8:3).
Here are some principles I have learned from Book of Mormon passages about the birth of Jesus:
- Experiences can be more impactful and more memorable than concepts: How Does the Birth of Jesus Christ Help Us Understand the Love of God?
- God’s love is manifest in His willingness to descend to our level: What Do We Know About God’s Love for Us?
- God wants to save us: What Is the Significance of the Name “Jesus?”
- Jesus Christ is capable of doing things which seem impossible to us: What Is the Significance of the Title “the Lord Omnipotent?”
- We all have tasks that we can only complete while we are mortal: What Is the Significance of the Phrase “a Tabernacle of Clay?”
- We can find joy and peace in remembering the good news of the gospel: The Glad Tidings of Great Joy – Mosiah 3:2-4.
- The Savior can replace confusion, discouragement, and fear with joy and confidence: Why Is Light an Appropriate Symbol for the Birth of Christ?
- Sometimes a delay creates an opportunity for us to exercise faith: “The Time Is Past” – 3 Nephi 1:6.
- The Savior’s light gives us direction: A New Star Did Appear – 3 Nephi 1:21.
- Hopeful and happy thoughts and words can lift us closer to God: Be of Good Cheer – 3 Nephi 1:13-14.