Christmas is a much-awaited season of the year for Latter-day Saints. Just like everyone else, they decorate their houses with Christmas trees, lights, and ornaments. They buy gifts for their families and friends. They prepare for Christmas parties and sing Christmas carols. And most importantly, they make Christ the reason of the season.
Christmas for Latter-day Saints is centered on the Savior’s birth, life, and Atonement. They commemorate the birth of the Son of the Living God as one of the most important events in the history of man. They remember the love that God the Father has for all mankind when He sent His Only Begotten Son to Earth. They also remember Mary and Joseph’s obedience in becoming the earthly parents of the Savior.
The Christmas season is also a celebration of the life of Jesus. Latter-day Saints celebrate His life by embracing the spirit of giving and love. During Jesus’ mortal ministry, He gave much of His time caring for the sick, widows, fatherless, and all those who needed physical and spiritual healing. He gave His all, even His life, to save the world from sin. Latter-day Saints celebrate Christ’s life by following His perfect example of giving to those in need in their homes, neighborhoods, communities, and around the world. They give of their time, love, and resources to share the love and light of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Latter-day Saints also remember the Atonement of Jesus Christ and rejoice because of the gifts that were made possible because of His Atoning sacrifice. The gifts of repentance, forgiveness, and eternal life are just some of the gifts available only because of His Atonement. They remember His sufferings and death, and they rejoice that He is risen.
In one of his Christmas Devotional addresses, the late prophet, Thomas S. Monson, shared the most valuable gifts we have because Jesus came to Earth. He said, “Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow…Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence. Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be. Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came. Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life.”
In past years, the efforts of Latter-day Saints during Christmas have revolved around the theme “Light the World”. Lighting the world means gladdening hearts, comforting those who are in need of comfort, giving selfless service, rescuing those who need spiritual healing, loving those who are oppressed, and inviting others to do the same. Lighting the world means sharing the Savior’s light with everyone they meet. And sharing the Savior’s light to help others come unto Him is what Christmas is for.