By Roy Patrick Gencianeo of the Philippines.
At the moment I write this, there are only about 52 days to go before we celebrate Christmas. I can say that time really flies on wings of lightning, and another year is fast approaching. Indeed, one of the most indescribable wonders of this world and the most joyous celebration is the Christmas season. There is a different feeling, and it seems to win over the heart of every soul every time we celebrate this special event.
What makes it so special? Well, the coming of the Mesiah was most anticipated and long awaited by ancient believers. Many prophets testified about this, and one of them was the prophet Isaiah. He said,
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Old Testament, Isaiah 9:6).
At the time of Christ’s birth, an angel appeared to the shepherds declaring to them the name of the Messiah who had come. He said,
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (New Testament, Luke 2: 10-12).
As a returned missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( commonly called Mormon Church by many), I remember that there were many people in my mission who asked me about our beliefs, especially our views about the Lord Jesus Christ. The first of the Articles of Faith of the LDs Church says,
“We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
The Church bears the Name of the Savior to emphasize its devotion to (and its teachings pointing to) the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church.
People may sometimes ask, “Do Mormons celebrate Christmas?” Well, of course, the answer is yes. The LDS Church joins other believers of the Lord Jesus Christ in commemorating His Birth. The LDS Church is a worldwide church, and members celebrate according to their countries’ traditions, but with an emphasis on the spiritual import of the holiday, instead of the material (at least ideally).
Christmas is indeed a joyful event for everyone. For example, in the Philippines, where I live, Christmas Season usually starts as early as October when Filipinos start decorating their homes with Christmas decorations. TV networks, news, and radio stations begin their traditional 100-day countdown for Christmas. Smiles and pleasant looks are evident in the faces of people everywhere as they slowly feel the gradual change of climate from humid hot to refreshingly cool. This is typical Philippine weather between September and February.
During Christmas Eve Filipino families gather together to enjoy the “Noche Buena,” which mainly consists of special food prepared for the occasion. Our family tradition includes going to our extended family’s house to eat the food which they lovingly share with us. They afterwards slowly find their way to our house and eat our food, which we lovingly share with them, as well! It is so much fun to be with my cousins and play with them or chat with them throughout the evening. All of us are especially thrilled when one of my older cousins sets up a Videoke for us to sing along with some favorite carols and songs. It is the most memorable event of all when our family is together celebrating Christmas Eve. I would never exchange that for anything else!
The first Book of Mormon prophets wrote in about 600 B.C. The prophet Nephi was shown the future birth of Christ in vision, attended by an angel of the Lord.
And it came to pass that I saw the heavensopen; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou? And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins. And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh. And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father (1 Nephi 15)!
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I solemnly testify that we believe in the Savior Jesus Christ and His teachings. He is the Son of God and the Only Begotten of the Father, our Great Exemplar of Righteousness. He came into the world to save us and guide us back into the presence of God, our Heavenly Father.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (New Testament, John 3:16).
1) Old Testament, Isaiah 9:6
2) New Testament, Luke 2: 10-12
3) New Testament, John 3:16
Mormons celebrate Christmas. Learn more at the official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
Learn more about the birth of Jesus Christ in The Book of Mormon. Request your free copy today.
Attend a local meetinghouse.