The Uncommon Christ series explores lesser-known scriptural names and titles of Jesus Christ.
According to Time Magazine, “Silent Night” is the most recorded Christmas song in US history (1). I recently noticed that this carol describes Christ’s birth as “holy” in each of the three English verses. This word appears often at Christmastime, in songs, on cards, in shop windows, and over pulpits.
The ancient prophet Mormon gave the Savior the name, "[God's] Holy Child, Jesus" (Moroni 8:3). This tender expression of Their Father-Son relationship reminds me that Jesus is the only of God’s children who of Himself is holy. In fact, Christ is referenced as the Holy One over 100 times in scripture.
The Hebrew word translated as “holy” in the Old Testament (kadosh) means:
consecrated (set apart) for a special, divine purpose.
Jesus was and is both of these.
Even when faced with the challenges of mortal life, He kept Himself wholly free of defilement. This granted Him the capacity to stand in as substitute for each of God’s children—a mission for which He alone was consecrated to perform, even before the earth was formed.
Jesus Christ has always been unfailingly holy. Unlike the rest of us, He never had to reclaim holiness—He just had to maintain it, which He ever has and will.
Fortunately for you and me, His holiness radiates out toward us. In His words, “I am the LORD, who makes Israel holy” (Ezekiel 37:28, NLT). We, too, can be purified and consecrated.
Our capacity to be holy and pure relies on the Savior: He teaches, takes sins from, and transforms us. This is a process and not a one-time event. Incrementally, and only through His guidance and power, holy is something we can become (see Lev. 11:44, Hebrew Bible).
Additionally—like Christ but on a smaller scale—you and I were premortally set apart (i.e. consecrated, "made holy") and prepared for special assignments during earth life (2). The Savior helps us recognize and fulfill these divine responsibilities. He consecrates (makes holy) our efforts to be for our good and for the good of others (3), and all involved to become more holy as a result.
Our holiness is attainable only through the merits and mercy of God’s Holy Child. He both is and makes holy.
For that, "oh, let all that is in me adore Him! All that hath breath, join with Abraham's seed to adore Him!" (4)
See "The Most Popular Christmas Song Ever," Time Magazine, 2 December 2014
see Doctrine & Covenants 138:56; 1 Peter 2:9 (footnote)
see Romans 8:28; D&C 90:24
Hymns, no. 72