As a young boy, around the time of Christmas I would receive toy magazines. I would take a pen and circle the toys that I wanted, and the more circles a toy had the more I wanted it. But this season I think to draw many circles around Jesus of Nazareth.
From 1 Nephi Chapter 11 we read:
8 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.
9 And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.
13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
Note here that Mary almost directly pointed to when Nephi asks about what the meaning of the Tree of Life is from his father’s vision. She and the tree are said to be “beautiful" and “white”, white here is meant to signify purity instead of skin color as Mary, being a Jew, would have had olive skin. This is comparable to Asherah who was known as the wife of God to the ancient Israelites and even worshiped by some of them. She was often depicted as being tree like with a trunk like lower half. So it is interesting to compare Mary to a goddess by comparing her to Goddess’ symbol. Mary is a tree and the fruit which she bore was Jesus who giveth immortal and eternal life to all of God’s children just as the fruit which is “most desirable above all things”. And this is the “Love of God.”
For more information on the scriptural meaning of “white” meaning purity instead of skin color see also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbzwaM9K8e0
Who is Jesus?
From Isaiah Chapter 9 we read:
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.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Who is Jehovah?
He is Jesus when he was a spirit before he obtained a body. He who is God with the Father. This so being testified when he said to the Pharisees, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). That same immortal title which he gave himself as Jehovah when speaking to Moses out of the burning bash. “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” (Exodus 3:7–8, 13–14). But note still, though he is Jehovah the God of the Old Testament, that he still said to the Pharisees, “It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:17-18) signifying that he and his Father are two men which bear witness.
When Samuel the Lamanite gave a sign on the wall the sign was the when Christ was born there would be a day and a night and another day seem as one day. That is there should be no darkness but will seem as two days in one. As the signs came to pass many still did not believe and so sought to destroy the believers. Nephi the third was distraught at this and so in 3 Nephi Chapter 1 we read:
11 And it came to pass that 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.
13 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.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
Jesus here says he is the Father because of him and the son because of the flesh. In this way we say that Christ is the Father and the Son. However this is not trinitarian as though he is the Father and the Son he himself still has a father who is a separate entity from himself. The Father and Son are one God together but separate from each other.
Let us now go to Mary. Luke Chapter 1 reads:
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Now to Shepards in a field. Luke Chapter 2 reads:
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Why was Jesus Born? Why did he not just beam down from heaven into an adult mortal body?
In the Gospel of John chapter 3 we read the answer:
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Note that when Jesus tells Nicodemeus he must be born again he assumes he means that he must reenter his mother’s womb and be born again. He must be born again but he is already born of woman and need not be born of woman again but must be born of Christ. Every individual must be first born of woman and second be born of Christ.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:
“Two births are essential to salvation. Man cannot be saved without birth into mortality, nor can he return to his heavenly home without a birth into the realm of the Spirit. … The elements present in a mortal birth and in a spiritual birth are the same. They are water, blood, and spirit. Thus every mortal birth is a heaven-given reminder to prepare for the second birth. …”
“In every mortal birth the child is immersed in water in the mother’s womb. At the appointed time the spirit enters the body, and blood always flows in the veins of the new person. Otherwise, without each of these, there is no life, no birth, no mortality.
“In every birth into the kingdom of heaven, the newborn babe in Christ is immersed in water, he receives the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and the blood of Christ cleanses him from all sin. Otherwise, without each of these, there is no Spirit-birth, no newness of life, no hope of eternal life. …
“… These elements were again present in Christ’s death. He sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane as he took upon himself the sins of all men on conditions of repentance. This same agony and suffering recurred on the cross. It was then that he permitted his spirit to leave his body, and it was then that blood and water gushed from his riven side” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 288-89). (See also Moses 6: 59-60)
The fact is that Jesus of Nazereth was a real historical figure as attested by such magazines as National Geographic. (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/12/jesus-tomb-archaeology/) This gives us a real sense of intimate connection to God to say that he was once a man like us who walked among us and talked with us. A man may say he does not believe in God however Jesus was an undeniably real man and as such lived an extraordinary life which testifies of the reality of a loving, living God in heaven. His life was as such that he sinned no sin and his path was strait and narrow. He had focus and purpose as no one ever had. He was purely righteous and declared himself to be Jehovah in the flesh. No Atheist can deny these things.