25 December 2011

Sacrament Meeting Christmas Program

(i pulled this together from some other programs & lds.org & music that i love...and i so appreciate my choir director, my choir, my bishop...for trusting me without previewing it...it's not perfect, but i'm happy with how it turned out.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Christmas Sacrament Program 2011

PRIMARY CHILD:  The Lamanite prophet Samuel foretold the birth of the Savior five years before it happened.  The people would not let Samuel into Zarahemla to preach, so he stood on a city wall and proclaimed…


NARRATOR:  From Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Two travelers – a man and a woman – looked upon a small city, Bethlehem.  The woman, heavy with child, had been traveling from Nazareth.  The long journey was most difficult and so uncomfortable for her.
Due to a sudden influx of visitors, every inn, every room in the city was occupied.  The only place Joseph and Mary could find shelter was in a place where cattle were kept.  And so He was born: Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Beloved Son of God.  The Creator of suns and moons and swirling seas lay wrapped in swaddling clothes, His surrounding among the most humble earth had to offer.”

PRIMARY – PICTURE A CHRISTMAS

NARRATOR:  Elder Wirthlin continued, “At a very early age and continuing throughout my life, I have marveled at the beautiful story of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The inspiring part of it all was the announcement through the prophets in the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon.  They knew the plan of salvation and the major part He would play in saving all mankind.  The singing of the angels as the shepherds in their field were informed of the greatest even of history, and the Wise Men from the Far East who followed the star of Bethlehem – these inspired events captured my love and understanding of our beloved Savior.
            As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I testify to you this day that the time will come when every one of us will look into the Savior’s loving eyes.  And we will know then with a surety that a child was born to Mary who was indeed the Son of God, the Savior of the world.  We will know that no grief is so great, no pain so profound, no burden so unbearable that it is beyond His healing touch.
            He asks that we believe in Him, that we learn of Him, that we strive to follow His teachings.  That each one of us may never forget the sacredness of this event and celebrate His birth by coming unto Him and keeping His commandments…”

Luke, Chapter 2 reads: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, until the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  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, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”


NARRATOR:  Mary brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger.  Often nativities are represented in this way, with the baby Jesus in a manger, and parents Mary and Joseph looking over him adoringly.  Imagine the scene that is all too familiar with the variation of Mary, alone with her baby after the shepherds have looked on in amazement and the angel’s songs are over.  She had the opportunity to hold him lovingly in her arms, adore his tiny features and think about the incredible love she had for her helpless infant who even as a full grown man would remain eternally innocent.  For even just a few precious moments, Mary had the Savior of the world, her own personal Redeemer, all to herself.  “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

QUARTET – ONE SMALL BABE
  
NARRATOR:  Quoted from ‘The Living Christ, The Testimony of the apostles of The Church of JesusChrist of Latter-Day Saints’, “As WE COMMEMORATE the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice.  None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth…
            We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary.  He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world…
            His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.  God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”

            President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “…at this Christmas season, we sing His praises and speak our words of faith and gratitude and love.  It is His influence in our lives that stirs within us more kindness, more respect, more love, more concern.  It is because of Him and His teachings that we reach out to those in trouble, distress, and need wherever they may be.
            “It is proper during this season…that we remember the Lord Jesus Christ in reverence and with love.  He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.  He has brought meaning to our mortal existence.  He has given us the gift of eternal life.  He was and is the Son of God, who was “made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
            God be thanked for the gift of His Son, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the Prince of Life and Peace, the Holy One.”

CHOIR – JOY TO THE WORLD
(an arrangement i got years ago from elda jones...)

NARRATOR:  In the December 1993 Ensign, Philip J. Smith wrote:  As the experiences of an ever-increasing number of Christmases past change our view of Christmases present and future, we long for the elusive but common ingredient of each past dream and each past gift.  We wish for one new gift: the gift of peace for us, our families, our loved ones, our neighbors, and the world.  It was in fact the gift of peace that was promised by the angels on that first Christmas night.  From him who was born the Prince of Peace, we receive a great gift: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not at the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
            …He is the only source of peace – his birth was announced as the gift of peace; his life brought us the gospel of peace; his death made him the founder and father of peace for each of us.
            As his birth heralded peace on earth, our spiritual rebirth in him is the path to that peace in our own lives.  It is when our hearts are changed through faith in him that we are reborn.  That change comes only when we are willing to become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict” upon us.  (Mosiah 3:19)
            …We will find neither rebirth nor peace until we reach out with our hearts and “above all things, clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” (D&C 88:125)
            When we finally decide that what we really want is what he wants, when we relinquish our pride and submit to his will, peace comes.”


NARRATOR:  Over two thousand years ago, you and I, every one of us in this room, peered out over the veil of time and distance and watched with wonder as the birth of our Savior took place here on earth.  We were all there.  The fact that we are all here right now is proof of that.
            What a glorious occasion that must have been!  Not moments before, the Savior stood in our midst.  Perhaps He gave you a hug, shook your hand, put His arm around you, or stared lovingly into your eyes.  He probably smiled, a broad, loving confident smile that said to us, “Fear not, for this day I am about my Father’s work.  The work that will someday bring us back together to dwell with one another forever.  I shall not be gone long, and when I return we will rejoice together the same as we now rejoice at my going.”
            And when the exact moment was right, He vanished from our presence and began His exquisite journey.  This was it!  This was the moment we had waited for!  This was the part of our Father’s plan most precious and holy!  Our love for our elder brother could not have been stronger.  Our gratitude and humility for what He was about to do could not have been deeper.  So glorious was this moment, that we spontaneously joined our voices together and began to sing!  At some point, the veil dividing the heavens and the earth was rent, and some of us were allowed to visit the earth and sing praises to God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Yes, we were there.  You and I.  Shouting and singing.  Praising and rejoicing.


NARRATOR:  President David O. McKay declared: “True happiness comes only by making others happy – the practical application of the Savior’s doctrine of losing one’s life to gain it.  In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service.
            It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring ‘peace on earth,’ because it means – good will toward all men.
            Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit.  Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed.  The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things.  To catch the real meaning of the “spirit of Christmas,” we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the “Spirit of Christ.”
           
            During the 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave us three things to do as we prepare for the Christmas season.  First, rejoice in the birth of our Savior.  Second, ponder His influence in our lives today.  Third, look steadfastly for His coming. 
            President Uchtdorf ended his talk with the following statement: “I pray that during this season and always, we will see the purity of the story of the Savior’s birth and feel sincere gratitude for His life, teachings, and saving sacrifice for us.  May this gratitude cause us to renew our determination to follow Him.  May it also lead us to draw closer to our family, our church, and our fellowmen.  And may we look steadfastly forward to that blessed day when the resurrected Christ will walk the earth again as our Lord, our King, and our blessed Savior.
            I pray that each and every one of you will have a wonderful and merry Christmas season.  I leave you my love and blessings in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

1 comment:

Saren Loosli said...

What a wonderful program! I hope it's OK if I use what you've put together here to design our ward's upcoming Christmas program. Thanks for doing some of the work for us!