The words of the Christmas hymn "Silent Night" close with a profound truth: “Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.”
Elder James E. Talmage, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explained in "Jesus the Christ," “The Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father.… In his nature would be combined the powers of Godhood with the capacity and possibilities of mortality… The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents — one immortal and glorified — God, the other human — woman.”
Though a babe in the manger, Jesus was born God with the intended purpose of atoning for the sins of mankind that each human being might repent, return, live and progress with God and Christ throughout eternity.
Perhaps not a classic Christmas song, yet the beautiful hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" is a powerful reminder of who this being is, whose birth we celebrate this time of the year, and of our need of Jesus Christ and his infinite Atonement. It reads (see lds.org and hymnary.org).:
"Come Thou Fount of every blessing/ Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;/ Streams of mercy, never ceasing,/ Call for songs of loudest praise/ Teach me some melodious sonnet,/ Sung by flaming tongues above./ Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,/ Mount of God's unchanging love."
The words speak powerfully. We are saved only in and through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, who is constant in his outreach to us. Being fixed on this eternal truth, praising and recognizing the goodness of our Savior, is the only way to salvation.
"Here I raise my Ebenezer;/ Hither by Thy help I'm come;/ And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,/ Safely to arrive at home./ Jesus sought me when a stranger,/ Wandering from the fold of God;/ He, to rescue me from danger,/ Interposed His precious blood."
“Here I raise my Ebenezer,” refers to 1 Samuel 7 in the Old Testament, when the Israelites are outnumbered and attacked by the Philistines. Recognizing their need, they turn to the prophet Samuel, who prays to God for their safety. After being delivered by his matchless power and having gained the victory, they raised an Ebe-nezer, a Hebrew term meaning a “stone of help.” They build a visual monument to forever remind them of God’s aid in their behalf.
Here, in music, the author raises his personal “monument,” his affirmation of Jesus Christ’s divinity and our constant need of him in our lives — that Jesus seeks us when we turn from him and wander in forbidden paths; that Jesus rescues and protects us; that Jesus gave his life that we might live.
"O to grace how great a debtor/ Daily I'm constrained to be!/ Let that grace now like a fetter,/ Bind my wandering heart to Thee./ Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,/ Prone to leave the God I love;/ Here's my heart, O take and seal it,/ Seal it for Thy courts above."
The author ends with a heartfelt assertion and a plea. He acknowledges that his debt to the Savior grows daily and knows no bounds. He admits he is weak — as are all mortals — and prone to turn from “the God I love.” And his plea — as a human, I am not only weak but fickle. Help me, strengthen me such that I will choose to bind myself to thee throughout my mortal journey and thereby dwell with thee in glory throughout all eternity.
It is an exquisite tribute to Jesus Christ, and a solemn reminder that he, whose birth we celebrate this time of year, is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, worthy of our honor and obedience, and to whom we will forever be in debt.