To the people of all nations we extend our love and greetings this holy season. We proclaim that the babe born in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago was indeed the Christ, the Savior of all mankind. In him all humankind, past, present, and future, have hope. In him can be found the personal peace that eludes so much of the world.
The events that began in Bethlehem and ended in Jerusalem are the focal point of all history. The humble birth we commemorate was prelude to the awesome events of Gethsemane and Calvary, and Christmas takes on its deepest meaning when we recall that the ministry that began in a stable ended with an empty tomb.
The proper celebration of Christmas is a joyous expression of thanks to God for the marvelous gift of his Only Begotten Son. The season’s hymns and carols are a continuing echo of the angelic anthems heard by the shepherds.
We join with Nephi, the prophet of old, in proclaiming that “we rejoice in Christ.” (2 Ne. 25:26.) The righteous of ancient times looked forward to His coming with faith and hope. We look back on his mortal ministry with humble gratitude. And we, too, look forward with hope and faith to the time when He shall return again.
We pray that all may seek the peace that is to be found in Christ; that all may look beyond the merchandising and socializing to the One whose birth we celebrate. Among the many lands where Christmas is celebrated, there are a great variety of holiday traditions. We would encourage a tradition of worshiping the Savior through loving service to fellowmen. May the kindness, forgiveness, and personal righteousness demonstrated by the Savior be manifest in the lives of countless people throughout the world. For, just as Bethlehem’s bright star guided the Wise Men to the Savior, Christlike lives today can be a bright beacon to the many who do not yet know of their Redeemer.
That all may find the hope and peace that come through Jesus Christ is our fervent prayer this Christmas season and always.