We wrote our Deseret News column last week on putting Christ back into Christmas and referred to our book “What Manner of Man” and the idea of focusing on a different aspect of Jesus each week as we worship.
Since then, there has been a lot of interest in this sequenced, one facet-at-a-time approach to beginning to know the Savior, and several people have asked if it is an approach for all Christians or just for LDS believers. Let us answer that by saying that we actually wrote it for our missionaries while we were presiding in the London South Mission and did so because we wanted to assist them in focusing their attention on the Lord during the sacrament each Sunday. So while we hope it is a good approach for all Christians, it is particularly an approach for LDS readers.
Christmastime is the perfect opportunity for parents to concentrate on teaching their children not only about the birth of Christ, but about his life — and even more so about the wonderful and supernal truths about the Savior that came to us through Joseph Smith and his revelatory insights.
Readers can find the full book here, but let us just share a sample chapter illustrating the gratitude all church members should feel for the vast array of additional insights about our Lord that we would not have without the Restoration. As you read the list below, note that only seven of the listed 20 roles of Christ are known by the Christian world at large. Perhaps this “bigger picture” will help us all to better celebrate Christmas and help our children center more on its true meaning.
Chapter 1: Every crucial role
All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind. These truths bloom into even greater reality when woven into the organized tapestry of eternity and when knit into the texture of the other roles that Jesus Christ has taken in the Father’s eternal plan.
Through his revealed word, we can know the Lord as:
A great intelligence prior to the creation of this world.
The firstborn spirit son of our Heavenly Father.
A great and loyal leader in the spirit world.
The leading advocate of the plan of agency and redemption for this mortal existence, and the one who insisted that all credit and glory be given to the Father.
The accepted volunteer for the supremely difficult and self-sacrificing implementation of that plan of agency and redemption.
The creator of this world.
The light of this world.
Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament.
The Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh.
The only perfect being ever to live.
The head of the original church of Jesus Christ.
The teacher of the full gospel (“good news”).
The Savior and Redeemer of the world who willingly gave his life for us all.
The first fruits of a glorious resurrection, which, because of him, will apply to us all.
The direct, resurrected teacher of the gospel to his “other sheep” — in other parts of this world, in the spirit world, to the lost 10 tribes.
The Mediator with the Father.
The revealer and restorer of the fullness of his gospel.
The Lord who will come again and reign during the Millennium.
Our father, if we accept him and live his commandments
Sometimes, little children (whom Christ told us to be like) can say so simply what we try to say so complexly, as when we once asked our 4-year-old daughter:
“Who is Jesus?”
“Why did he come to earth?”
“To teach us how to love each other and to show us how it works when we die.”
“What is he doing now?”
“Taking care of us from way up there.”
Richard and Linda are the founders of Joyschools.com and New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or at www.valuesparenting.com.