December 3, 2023 - Episode #4916

Girl gives her grandfather a hug after receiving a Christmas gift from him


Conductor: Mack Wilberg
Organist: Brian Mathias
Announcer: Lloyd Newell

“Ding Dong! Merrily on High”
Music: French carol
Lyrics: George R. Woodward
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“O Come, Little Children”
Music: Johann A. P. Schulz
Lyrics: Christian von Schmid
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“II est ne, le divin Enfant” (organ solo)
Music: French carol
Arrangement: Brian Mathias

“Peace Be Mine” (Christmas version)
Music: Mack Wilberg
Lyrics: David Warner

“Von Himmel Hoch”
Music: Felix Mendelssohn
Lyrics: Martin Luther

“The First Noel”
Music: English carol
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
Music: Felix Mendelssohn
Lyrics: Charles Wesley
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

The Spoken Word

Friendship at the Heart of Christmas
December 3. 2023
By: Lloyd D. Newell

Friendship is at the heart of Christmas. On that first Christmas night, angels declared it to be a time of “peace [and] good will” (Luke 2:14). That spirit has persisted to this day. At Christmastime, we tend to think of others a little more kindly; we feel more generosity and compassion toward neighbors and strangers. As Charles Dickens wrote in his beloved story A Christmas Carol , “I have always thought of Christmas time … as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people … as if they really were fellow-passengers.”[1]

Every journey is more enjoyable with good company. So perhaps Christmas is a good time to try to be better traveling companions, better “fellow-passengers” for each other. The Savior, whose birth we celebrate this season, made friendship a cornerstone of His life. He taught, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall [everyone] know that ye are my disciples” (John 13:34–35). He is our Friend. And He wants His disciples, His followers, to be friends to others.

The Savior of the world came to earth as the babe in a manger. But it’s His life and teachings, not just His birth, that make Christmas a season of peace and goodwill. It’s more than a time for merrymaking and exchanging gifts. It’s a time to contemplate eternal things and higher purposes, like brotherly love and friendship. It’s a time to follow Jesus’s counsel to do unto others as we would have them do to us.[2] If we can try that—if we can just open our hearts enough for “the dear Christ [to enter] in,”[3] He can fill us with a spirit of love that will extend to all of our fellow passengers. That kind of friendship is at the heart of Christmas.

[1] Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843), 14.

[2] See Matthew 7:12.

[3] “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Hymns , no. 208.