In the Christmas story, Joseph and Mary obeyed, shepherds listened, and wise men followed. We learn from these people how to live in the latter days.
Similarly to how Joseph and Mary obeyed the angels, we can obey our righteous leaders. Mary received the visit from Gabriel only shortly before marriage, so she was not only happy and excited, but also surprised when he said that she was going to have Jesus. She said, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38) When Mary told Joseph that she was going to have a baby, Joseph “being a just man” doubted marrying her, but an angel told him in a dream that he should marry Mary. “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife” (Matthew 1:24-25). Mary and Joseph obeyed the angels. If we obey our parents, the promptings of the spirit, and our teachers, we can be safe.
The shepherds listened to the angel and found Jesus. The angel, which at first frightened the shepherds, announced, “Fear not, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The angel told the shepherds that a Savior was born, and His name was Christ the Lord. The angel said that they would “find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, “there was with the angel, a multitude of Heavenly Hosts praising God” (See Luke 2). The shepherds decided to go and see the holy baby, and they went and saw Christ, who was lying in a manger like the angel said. We can listen to the prophets like the shepherds listened to the angel. In the January 2017 Liahona, President Uchtdorf reminds us to love one another and that the most important thing is following Christ’s example. When we listen to the prophets, we can be happy.
The wise men, who were chosen magi, followed the star to find Jesus. In the Bible Dictionary, we learn that the spirit guided the wise men. The wise men happily worshiped Christ because they knew He was the Savior of the world. They were ready because they read the scriptures. We can prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior by reading the holy scriptures and partaking of the sacrament. When we do those things, we feel the spirit and we can be wise.
Before Jesus was born, prophets in scriptures taught repetitively about Christ’s birth. For example, Isaiah said that a child would be born, and that “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) This is referring to the First Coming, which was His birth. Joseph and Mary knew he was going to be born and obeyed the angels. Shepherds listened to the angel and remembered the scriptures. The wise men knew through the spirit that the star was a sign of Christ’s birth. The prophets and scriptures also tell about His second coming. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Paul the Apostle says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.” Since the latter-day prophets receive revelations that point to His Second Coming being soon, we should start preparing by reading the scriptures, listening to latter-day prophets, and partaking of the sacrament. We learn from those in the Christmas story how to live in the latter days.