The Savior's birth was anticipated for centuries. Book of Mormon prophets - from Lehi some 600 years before the birth of Christ to Samuel the Lamanite just six years before the eventful birth - joined their voices with those of the Old Testament foretelling the coming of the Messiah.
Speaking in the October 1964 general conference, President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency said:"We all know, as recorded in Luke, the angel said unto Mary:
" `. . . Thou shalt . . . bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
" `He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
" `And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.' (Luke 1:31-33.)
"I am sure that many of you . . . wonder how it was that the shepherds and the wise men were looking for and recognized the sign that would tell of the birth of the Savior. They expected a new star. This was because ancient prophets had foretold the signs that would appear. Those who had read of the prophecies were prepared for these signs when they came, and what a thrilling thing it is to know, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, that the wise men from the east followed the star to the place of His birth, and as they came to Jerusalem they asked: ` . . . Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.' (Matt. 2:2.) They were instructed to go to Bethlehem, where He would be born, as prophesied by Micah the prophet. When they arrived at Bethlehem, they saw the young child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him."