We recently experienced a Christmas season that was unlike all others. In fact, we had it two years in a row because we lived in a non-Christian nation along with almost two hundred young and senior missionaries. For one, we were all away from our families whom we love dearly. However, the thought of being together in a foreign land and united in one purpose, which is- “to invite others to come unto Christ and help them receive the restored gospel…” made it all worthwhile. We had the opportunity all day, everyday to tell people about Heavenly Father, His plan for us, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Oh, how we loved the people and those missionaries that served with us!
Another difference was the noticeable absence of Christmas lights and decorations along the streets and in most homes. After all, they did not have any reason to celebrate the season. Knowledge concerning Christ is uncommon. Surprisingly, we did find a handful of commercial areas that put up decorations. However, it was all focused on the commercial aspect of Christmas. We did not find a single reference to Jesus Christ whose birth we are celebrating.
Sadly, it is becoming more and more that way even in most Christian nations, including the Philippines. Nowadays it is very easy to be swept away by the commercialism of the Christmas season. It may seem to be a little thing, but it often drives the spirit and true reason and meaning of Christmas. We need to recognize that although gift-giving is a good tradition, we need not go overboard. We should not forget that being a good Christian involves more than just buying a gift for someone. As the Savior taught, a gift of ourselves is the most ideal. He has shown us how to truly live.
The world needs to hear and know more about Jesus Christ.
For thousands of years, Satan has been subtly but deliberately erasing the name of Jesus Christ in the world. As an example, it begins innocently with phrases like: “Season’s Greetings, or Happy Holidays, or even Merry Xmas.” It conditions us to focus on the season and not on its real reason. Our prophets and apostles are telling us that there is nothing innocent about this. With the correct name comes a correct understanding of the reason for the season. It allows us to retain in remembrance the life and mission of the Son of God whose birth we celebrate. As we remember the Savior more, we will be focused more on others and the things that truly matter.
During the October 2018 general conference, President Nelson invited us to consciously put back the name of Christ in the world. He admonished us to simply begin referring to the Church by it’s proper and divinely revealed name, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. President Nelson further said: “To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement.” The world needs to hear and know more about Jesus Christ. As more and more people live in remembrance of Him, the world will see more love, more kindness, more forgiveness, and more compassion. In a way, it is like celebrating Christmas all year round.
So, what’s in a name? Everything! During this Christmas season may we always remember why we celebrate the occasion. We rejoice and celebrate because we commemorate the supreme act of love that God, our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, has offered us. Because of love the Father gave His Son and the Son offered up His life that we may live.
“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.” This is the true meaning of Christmas!