A Christmas Message from the First Presidency to the Children of the World:
The Real Christmas

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    Christmas is a busy season. Streets and stores are filled with people making last-minute preparations. Travelers on the highway increase, airports are crowded—all Christendom seems to come to life with music, lights, and festive decorations. Christmas trees, baking, mistletoe, and the giving of gifts are all part of the celebration, but the real Christmas lies much deeper than these. It is found in the life and mission of the Master, in the principles he taught, in his atoning sacrifice.

    Christ is not just a fact of history, but the Savior of men everywhere and at all times. If we open the door, he will enter. The Prince of Peace waits to give us peace of mind, which can help us to also be peacemakers.

    If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of its sweetness, find time during the hurry of the season to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours and in a quiet place, on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that his spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve him and keep his commandments. He will take you by the hand, and his promises will be kept.

    Sooner or later—and we pray sooner than later—everyone will acknowledge that Christ’s way is not only the right way, but ultimately the only way to hope and joy. Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that gentleness is better than brutality, and kindness greater than force. Whenever possible, we must become more like him.

    This is our prayer and our wish for the world. We testify that Jesus is the only true source of lasting joy, that our only lasting peace is in him. We bear testimony of the Firstborn of God who has “borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” who “was wounded for our transgressions” and was “bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:4–5). We give you our solemn witness that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, for whose coming the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob prayed during long centuries. We testify that he lives. He is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh. He is the Savior, the Light and Life of the World. He is the real Christmas.

    “The Birth of Jesus,” by Carl Bloch. Original at the Chapel of Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark. Used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum.

    Painting by Dale Kilbourn