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Christians throughout the world celebrate Christmas on December 25th as an annual church festival and as the traditional day of our Savior's mortal birth. Modern scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 20:1) suggests, and many Mormons believe, that the Savior was born in the spring. However, they observe the Savior's birth when, more than at any other time of year, the world unites to remember this most sacred event and where it is evident the Savior's teachings of love, charity, self-sacrifice, and tolerance are put into practice.
Mormons believe that without Christ there would be no Christmas and without Christ there cannot be true happiness. This is the ideal time to ponder the true meaning of Christmas and to center attentions on the true doctrine of His birth as the Son of God, an event that allowed Him to work out the infinite and eternal atonement.
Christmas trees, stockings, gifts and greeting cards are believed to add to the beauty of the Christmas season. However, when such is too time consuming and expensive, it can detract from the spirit of Christmas. If left to the last minute, it can often relay rapidity and confusion to Christmas observance. Church leaders caution members that holiday shopping, decorating, and festivities should not be so all consuming that they forget or vaguely remember the reason for Christmas. Gifts should reflect the same spirit of love and concern, as did those of the Wise Men who presented the first gifts to the baby Jesus.
The Mormon Church encourages its members to draw their families close together, show concern for neighbors, renew old friendships and show acts of Christ-like love by giving, and celebrating the birth of our Savior.
Christmas at Mormon Temples
Many Mormon temples sponsor Christmas cultural offerings, and many have gardens full of Christmas lights. The grandest is at the Salt Lake City Utah Mormon Temple where concerts at Temple Square and the special lighting of the gardens are annual events. Other notable lighting displays are at the Mesa Arizona Temple and the Washington, D.C. Temple.
Other Mormon Christmas Activities
Sacrament meeting for Mormons (Sunday worship) is always different at Christmas. Choirs perform beautiful carols commemorating the birth of the Savior, and narration focuses on His birth. The Book of Mormon peoples were aware of the birth of Christ. As foretold by their prophets, there were two days with no night and a new star in the heavens testifying that the Savior had been born. So that narration is intertwined sometimes with the story of the nativity.
Nativity plays are performed at church activities and by families in their own homes. Every congregation has a Christmas party to celebrate the season.
The First Presidency of the LDS Church televises a Christmas message, which you can watch, read, or listen to by clicking on the links below.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs a special concert with a celebrity guest artist. 2010's performance with David Archuleta is now available on CD. The 2011 concert was attended by 85,000 people. That year’s event featured the 360-voice choir, the 100-piece Orchestra at Temple Square, highly acclaimed American baritone soloist Nathan Gunn, award-winning British actress, artist and author Jane Seymour, 32 bell ringers, and 110 dancers. It promised to be a stunning evening honoring the birth of Jesus Christ, and celebrating the joy of the holiday season.
In Salt Lake City a major event of the season is the Festival of Trees. People donate decorated Christmas trees, centerpieces, mantle decorations, or gingerbread houses and these are purchased by companies or private individuals. All proceeds go to the Primary Children's Hospital.
To download or watch the LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional, 2008, click here.
To download or watch the LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional, 2009, click here.
To download or watch the LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional, 2010, click here
To download, watch, or listen to the LDS First Presidency Christmas Devotional, 2011, click here