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The True Meaning of Christmas

Reading the newspaper over the past few weeks, I have been struck by the descriptions of TV listings for Christmas specials.  Here are just a few:

"A money-minded modern day Scrooge with no time for family is given twelve days to discover the true meaning of Christmas." 

"[They] discover the true meaning of Christmas at the mall, where they get jobs."

"... a convoluted tale about family values and the true meaning of Christmas, which [he] sums up as 'Every child deserves a toy.'"

"... upset because of a legal injunction against lighting [his] Christmas tree, [he] tries to discover the true meaning of Christmas." 

"Filled with forced yuletide cheer and mixed messages about the true meaning of Christmas, this loud and obnoxious holiday comedy boasts a fine cast ..."  

"The true meaning of Christmas is discovered by a spoiled rich girl ... after she switches places with a needy orphan."

Each of these programs promises to reveal the "true" meaning of Christmas. Some are just obnoxious trash. Others promote the idea that the true meaning of Christmas is a spirit of giving, being kind, thinking about others, and so on -- all of which are certainly part of the message of Christmas. Many of these programs have "feel good" messages which are quite good, certainly better than the usual fare on television. Yet, none of these programs -- not one -- even mentions Christ. 

This is not surprising, of course, because we live in a world where trappings and trimmings are often more important than substance -- where violence and perversions of every kind are tolerated, even celebrated, while religious faith is to be expressed only in private, or silenced all together. However, I am a little unnerved at the audacity of the producers of these program as they assert over and over that the "true meaning" of Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. Their message is that peace on earth, and goodwill toward men can be achieved without God. We need to beware of this message, because it is a half-truth. I am reminded of Mormon's advice on how to tell good from evil:

"Wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil;" (Moroni 7:14-17)
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we testify to the world that Christmas is not just about about being kind and giving, nor is it only about the birth of the baby Jesus.  The true meaning of Christmas is that God himself descended below all things to be born in a humble manger.  He lived a perfect life, organized His church, and taught us the way to heaven.  He freely gave his live -- for you and for me -- and rose the third day. He offers his power and glory to us through his atonement: his wonderful gift of grace.  May we accept the gift.  I testify that He lives today, that His influence is felt around the world, and that only through Him can we truly have "peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come." (D&C 59:23)

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