Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
This is by far my favorite part of all the parts of the Christmas story. If you are unfamiliar with the story from the other side of the world, here is a little synopsis:
Samuel, a prophet in the ancient Americas, had prophesied of Christ's birth about 5 years before He came. There was turmoil in those years, but as the five drew to a close, there were basically two groups--those who believed Christ would come, and those who did not. The believers looked for the sign Samuel prophesied of (referenced two days ago). But the unbelievers would have none of it. They set a day and told the believers that if the sign had not occurred by then, they would kill them.
The last day came before the one the unbelievers had appointed. And the believers were understandably scared. So Nephi prayed for help, comfort, reassurance, and the like. And his prayer was answered. By Jesus himself. And the scripture above is what He said.
I can only imagine the great peace and joy they felt to hear the Savior Himself reassure that He was coming, coming for each of us. That they would be saved not just from the evil that might have befallen them the next day, but that all would be saved from the evils of this world.
I'm sharing this version of this song because it makes me cry every time I hear MoTab sing it, because I've sung it before, and because my ward choir will sing it in our Christmas program tomorrow. The 3rd verse (or in the lyrics listed below, the last verse), which is rarely sung, is what makes this version one of my favorite Christmas songs.
The First Noel, the Angels did say Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay In fields where they lay keeping their sheep On a cold winter's night that was so deep. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel! They looked up and saw a star Shining in the East beyond them far And to the earth it gave great light And so it continued both day and night. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel! And by the light of that same star Three Wise men came from country far To seek for a King was their intent And to follow the star wherever it went. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel! This star drew nigh to the northwest O'er Bethlehem it took its rest And there it did both Pause and stay Right o'er the place where Jesus lay. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel! Then entered in those Wise men three Full reverently upon their knee And offered there in His presence Their gold and myrrh and frankincense. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel!Then let us all with one accordSing praises to our heavenly LordThat hath made Heaven and earth of noughtAnd with his blood mankind has bought.Born is the King of Israel!Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel