“Lift Up Your Head and Be of Good Cheer for Behold the Time Is at Hand”

Bryan Richards

Of all the Christmas greetings ever uttered, certainly, this is the greatest. Even though the shepherds in Judea were to see an angel and hear the heavenly hosts singing, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Lu 2:14), Nephi received notice from the Lord himself in a most personal and intimate communication. This message of peace and good cheer must have soothed Nephi’s soul like nothing else. Certainly, that same message has soothed the souls of millions since.

Indeed, all of creation had looked forward to this moment. From Adam’s early sacrifices in ignorance to the words of Samuel just 5 years prior, 4000 years of prophets and other righteous souls had their entire belief system resting on the promise that the Son of God would be made flesh and dwell among men. All of the Law of Moses had pointed to a Messiah who would redeem the people from their sins. Accordingly, many had received remission of sins even prior to the birth of the Lamb (Enos 1:5-8; Alma 36:18-19). Finally, the prophecies from all the prophets would be vindicated. The faith and hope of millions had to wait as much as four millennia to be realized, but the promised time had finally come.

First Presidency Christmas Message

"At this beautiful and glorious season we celebrate the birth of the Holy one of Israel - the Lord Jesus Christ. His birth, heralded by angels, had been revealed to Prophets in ages past. Perhaps the most meaningful of those prophetic declarations concerning the Savior’s pending birth came from the Lord Himself when He told the Prophet Nephi: ’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....’ (3 Ne. 1:13.)
“Almost twenty centuries have come and gone since the Savior’s birth and today, as then, He encourages all people to ’be of good cheer.’ (D&C 78:18.) We echo the words of the Lord and testify of His divinity and that He is the author of our eternal salvation. This is the message of joy ’that shall be to all people.’ (Luke 2:10.) May we find such joy as we abide by His teachings and serve with love our fellow beings. ” (Church News, 12/14/96)

Marion G. Romney

"Although I have born my testimony of Jesus Christ frequently and recently, I am happy to repeat it. My calling, and my desire, is to continue to bear convincing testimony of him. If it were possible, I would bear it to all men…
"I have no memory of a time or circumstance in which I have had the slightest doubt or question about Jesus of Nazareth being ‘The Christ’; the Son of the Father both in the spirit and in the flesh; the Savior of the world. In the scriptures there are many events reported and expressions made concerning him which confirm in me this conviction. Every time I think of them they increase my understanding of their significance and of his divinity…
"[One] impressive event concerning Jesus as a premortal spirit was his announcement to Nephi concerning his advent into mortality.
"About 6 B.C., Samuel the Lamanite prophesied that at the birth of Jesus there would be a day and a night and a day without darkness. The unbelievers said the time appointed for this sign had passed and made plans to put the believers to death. When Nephi, the grandson of Helaman,

’…saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

’And … he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.

’And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord, all the day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him saying:

’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. …

’And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness’ (3 Ne. 1:10-13, 15.)

“This event is to me a moving evidence of the infinite care and concern the Savior has for us mortals. It confirms my testimony of his divinity.” (Ensign, Sept. 1974, p. 2)