Christmas is one of my favorite teaching times of the year. The children sense the specialness of the season making them more attune to what I try to teach them about Christ and Christmas. Our ‘normal’ school is abandoned for “Christmas School.”
I love creating unit studies about the religious and secular themes of Christmas. One of our yearly favorites covers the names Jesus is given in the scriptures. We learn a new name each day and post that name on a board (this year it’s a window) around a picture we display of Christ.
Jesus is known by so many names (over two hundred!) that we do not cover every name every year. Each name helps us remember what Jesus has done for us and helps us to remember Him in special ways. It’s a great way to start off the school day as each lesson is more like a devotional. This could also be done as a countdown to Christmas.
All words in bold are the names we add to our display. All scripture references are linked to the LDS internet edition of the scriptures.
Day 1: Read in the Bible Dictionary under the heading of Christ. This gives a simple but great explanation of who Jesus Christ is and also lists some of the names He is known by.
Day 2: Anointed One – read about it in the Bible Dictionary here. Messiah – also read in the Bible Dictionary here. These readings help us learn that Anointed One, Messiah and Christ all mean the same thing. They just come from different origins – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
Day 3: Only Begotten Son – Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the first born to our Heavenly Father in the spirit and the Only Begotten in the flesh.
For the little ones we’ll just read the scriptures. Then we’ll discuss the quotes with the older children.
Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof; and the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sireship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the ‘Son of the Highest.’ In His nature would be combined the powers of Godhood with the capacity and possibilities of mortality; and this through the ordinary operation of the fundamental law of heredity, declared of God, demonstrated by science, and admitted by philosophy, that living beings shall propagate—after their kind. The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents—one immortal and glorified—God, the other human—woman.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. (1973), 81)
Day 4: Creator – The Gospel of John proclaims that Christ is the Creator of all things: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3)
Hebrews 1: 1-2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
Day 5: Exemplar – Jesus Christ set the example for us to follow how to live our lives.
1 Peter 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”
Day 6: Good Shepherd – Jesus gave this name to himself in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
“A shepherd watches over his sheep. He keeps them safe in a place where nothing can harm them. He takes them to pastures where there is good food and water. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice and follow him. A good shepherd would give his life to protect his sheep from danger; he leads them to safety. Jesus is the Good Shepherd because He watches over us and shows us the way to go. We hear His voice as we study His words in the scriptures and as we follow His chosen leaders. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has given His life for us, and He will lead us safely back to Heavenly Father. We are like His sheep when we listen to His voice, follow Him, and remember Him.” Ann Jamison, Friend, Apr 2000, 37
Psalms 23:1- 6, “ The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want….”
Alma 5:38 “Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.”
Mormon 9:6 “O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.”
Day 8: Bread of Life – Here is another name Christ calls himself. After Jesus feed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish the people followed Him for the wrong reasons. They wanted Jesus to provide food for them again and again. Jesus tells them they need to seek for spiritual food which will give them eternal life.
Day 9: The Vine – Yet another name Jesus gives to himself.
John 15:1, 5 “ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman…I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Day 10: Shiloh – Read the second definition of Shiloh in the Bible Dictionary.
Genesis 49:10 “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Day 11: I AM –
Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” See the footnotes for this verse.Doctrine & Covenants 29:1 “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;”
Day 12: Rock – “Experienced builders know that a structure cannot endure unless its foundation is strong. The words rock and stone, referring to the prime elements in ancient foundations, are used in the scriptures as metaphors signifying strength, steadiness, and durability. The prophets used these metaphors in a variety of ways, conveying an impression of the unwavering character of God as well as the need for spiritual solidarity in the foundation and structure of our own lives. Not only is Jesus a Rock, but his gospel also is likened to a rock, a sure foundation. The faithful disciple will build his life upon the foundation rock of the gospel of Jesus Christ, rather than upon the shifting sands of man’s wisdom. As the true God is a living God, so true disciples are lively in serving him.” Robert J. Matthews, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Jan. 1984, 51–52
2 Samuel 22:2 “And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;”
Psalms 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
Moses 7:53 “And the Lord said: Blessed is he through whose seed Messiah shall come; for he saith—I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall; wherefore, blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy.”
Day 13: Star or Bright and Morning Star – Still another name given by Jesus for himself.
Revelations 22:16 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
Day 14: Light of the World – Another name Jesus gave for himself.
“If we are to [be] an ensign to the nations and a light to the world, we must take on more of the luster of the life of Christ.” Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Ensign to the Nations, a Light to the World,” Ensign, Nov 2003, 82
Psalms 27:1 “ The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the alight of the world: he that followeth me shall not bwalk in cdarkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Day 15: Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Revelations 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty“
3 Nephi 9:18 “I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”
Doctrine & Covenants 19:1 “I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.”
Day 17: Captain – 2 Chronicles 13:12 “And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you.”
Hebrews 2:10 “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Day 18: Jehovah – “Jesus was Jehovah. This sacred title is recorded only four times in the King James version of the Holy Bible (see Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; Isa. 26:4). The use of this holy name is also confirmed in modern scripture (see Moro. 10:34; D&C 109:68; D&C 110:3; D&C 128:9). Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word hayah, which means “to be” or “to exist.” A form of the word hayah in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament was translated into English as I AM (Ex. 3:14).” Russell M. Nelson, “Jesus the Christ: Our Master and More,” Ensign, Apr 2000, 4
Psalms 83:18 “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth”
Day 19: Immanuel – Read Immanuel in the bible dictionary.
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
2 Nephi 2:28 “And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;”
Day 21: Advocate – This is similar to Mediator.
“Jesus is our Advocate with the Father (see 1 Jn. 2:1; D&C 29:5; D&C 32:3; D&C 45:3; D&C 110:4). The word advocate comes from Latin roots meaning a “voice for” or “one who pleads for another.” Other related terms are used in scripture, such as mediator (see 1 Tim. 2:5, 2 Ne. 2:28; D&C 76:69). From the Book of Mormon we learn that this responsibility to mediate, or make intercession, was foreseen before His birth: Jesus “shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved” (2 Ne. 2:9).” Russell M. Nelson, “Jesus the Christ: Our Master and More,” Ensign, Apr 2000, 4
1 John 2:1 “ My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Moroni 7:28 “For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.”
Doctrine & Covenants 29:5 “Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.”
Day 22: Redeemer – “It is called the gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes redemption and salvation possible. Through the Atonement all men, women, and children are unconditionally redeemed from physical death, and all will be redeemed from their own sins on the condition of accepting and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 18–21
Job 19:25 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:“
Day 23: Savior –
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
Day 24: Judge –
Isaiah 33:22 “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”
Judges 11:27 “Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.”
3 Nephi 27: 14-15 “And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil— And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.”
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
~ Charles Wesley~