Do Mormons Celebrate Christmas?

Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church,” are Bible-believing Christians and commemorate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, along with their Christian neighbors.

A photo of the Salt Lake City Temple at Christmastime. Mormons recite the Christmas story from the Gospels in the Bible at church and during Christmas celebrations, which are rife during the season.  Mormons add the account from the Book of Mormon, also.  The Book of Mormon is a spiritual and political history of several groups of people who migrated from the Middle East to the Americas.  The main group, called the Nephites after their venerable prophet, Nephi, left Jerusalem around 600 B.C. after being warned of its coming destruction.  They took with them the Hebrew scriptures up to that date, engraved on metal-alloy plates or pages.

The Nephites continued to keep the records, engraved upon by ensuing prophets, all of whom understood and taught that Jesus Christ would be the Savior of mankind.  They kept the Law of Moses, looking forward to the coming of Christ.  The following vision experienced by Nephi is recorded early in the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; 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 11:14-21).

The Nephite prophets foretold that when the Savior would be born in the environs of Jerusalem, a sign would be given — a night without darkness and a new star in the sky.  The righteous looked forward to this event with great anticipation, but as the time approached, the wicked were more numerous:

And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.  And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.

And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.   But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.

Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet (3 Nephi 1:4-9).

Nephi, many generations descended from the original prophet named Nephi, and himself a prophet, lamented over this impending doom and prayed mightily to the Lord.  Christ Himself appeared to Him to give Him comfort:

And it came to pass that he [Nephi] cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:   Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given (3 Nephi 1:12-14).

When the sign did occur, it could not be denied, not even by the wicked:

And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.   And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.

And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.   For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.

And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.

And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.   And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word (3 Nephi 1:15-21).

Thus, the Book of Mormon is a second witness that Jesus is the Christ, born to a virgin, the very Son of God.

Modern Christmas

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - Luke 2:14; A silhouette photo of a woman standing on the beach at sunset with her arms lifted in the air.Mormons honor Christmas according to the traditions of the cultures where they live without engaging in any activities that would rob the season of its sacred meaning.  Christmas parties, presents, Christmas presentations (plays, musicals, ballets, choir performances), special holiday lights at many Mormon temples, Mormon Tabernacle Choir performances, and a special Christmas Devotional from the First Presidency of the LDS Church are all traditional for the season.  Mormons also have a special Christmas worship service the Sunday before or of Christmas.

The Christmas season can be overly busy and stressful, so the Church of Jesus Christ counsels its members (especially moms) to avoid the materialism that can distract people from focusing on the Good News of the gospel, and the coming of Christ to save us all.

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