December 28


The Forgotten Symbols of Christ’s Birth

By Tresta Neil

Ancient Messages, Called to Learn, Holiday, Witnesses of the Birth

My mind burst open with wonder and possibilities as I sat in the rodeo arena surrounded by thousands of Saints gathered together to hear an apostle of Jesus Christ. I remember thinking, “I can’t even smell horse manure from last night’s rodeo.” I sat on a metal folding chair and played in the New Mexican dirt with my feet while hearing Bruce R. McConkie expound the symbols of Christmas. 

​I had never before heard an explanation of the symbols before, nor had I likened objects to the teaching of Jesus like he did that Sunday morning. I was mesmerized! 

Elder McConkie talked about how symbols help us remember the mission of Christ. He spoke about ornaments, the colors green and red, stars, bells, trees and explained how each pointed us to Christ and his Atoning mission. I was sad that I didn’t bring anything to write with (I’ve never forgotten since). As soon as I got home I ran to my room and wrote down as many symbols and meanings as I could possibly remember and then asked my parents what they remembered. This knowledge was somehow freeing to me. These objects never seemed important to me before and now they seemed to come to take life. I sat my little sister next to me as we looked at the Christmas tree and I taught her what I had learned.

A few months later Elder McConkie stood in General conference and shared his last public testimony of the Living Christ, again I was moved to action. I wanted to have a testimony – a knowledge – like he did. He died shortly afterward. I thank Father in Heaven for giving me a chance to hear truth and receive a confirmation from the Spirit of his divine mission and love for the Savior before he was taken home.

This experience started me on a life long journey of observing and searching for symbols and metaphors that point us to Christ, especially Christmas, Temple, and Easter symbols.

We have created several videos called, “The Forgotten Symbols” of Christ. Each video is 4-10 minutes long. 
They include: 

  • Holy Days
  • Messengers / Angels
  • Fruit
  • Bread /Manger
  • Birth / Swaddling clothes
  • Bells
  • Menorah

We are making them available to you for free this Christmas. You may watch them all together or one at a time. Please watch them and share them with your family and friends…

Let the symbols bring us closer to Christ this Christmas and forever. 
Merry Christmas!

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