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Christ centered Christmas

Friday 2 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features


Christ centered Christmas
An artwork depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. May Jesus be the object of our worship, and the focus of our lives during this Christmas season, and always, says Tamatoa Jonassen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Picture: “Birth of Jesus Christ,” by David Lindsley/22120111

As we enter the Christmas season, we are reminded of the purpose of celebrating Christmas, writes Tamatoa Jonassen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Christ’s mortal life was filled with service. Healing the sick and afflicted, ministering to those in need, and even resurrecting the dead. He is the only begotten of God our Heavenly Father. His divine parentage and mortal life without sin were important in allowing Christ to break the bonds of physical death. Because of Christ’s Resurrection, we will all be resurrected with perfect bodies never to be separated again; an eternal gift given to all mankind that ever lived, currently lives, or who will ever live.

Another eternal gift given through Christ comes through the power of His Atonement. We understand the Atonement was done in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ prayed to Heavenly Father and took upon Himself the sins of the world; so great was the pain and suffering that Christ bled from every pore. This was a vicarious act, where Christ put Himself in our place and took upon Him the consequences of our sins. He filled the demands of God’s Justice and suffered the penalty meant for us, yet this very act also allowed for God’s Mercy to be shown to all who truly repent and commit to following Christ.

Through the power of the Atonement and repentance, we become cleansed and overcome “spiritual death” or the “separation from God’s presence,” becoming “At-one” with God and being able to live in his presence, for “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). God’s perfect Justice and perfect Mercy are fulfilled, and we become the recipients of this marvellous gift.

However, unlike the gift of the Resurrection, the gift of the Atonement is conditional. We must repent of our sins, forgive others, and commit to follow Christ to benefit from the Atonement.

Christ’s invitation to follow Him is extended to all mankind. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

So profound and everlasting is the impact of these gifts, that the coming of Christ was prophesied by prophets and heralded by angels from the time of Adam and Eve. The Bible New Testament account of the birth of Christ tells of the heavens celebrating his birth: “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon (the shepherds) and the angel said unto them ‘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 suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’” (Luke 2:9-14).

As we commemorate the sacred birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ during this season, let us remember His mortal ministry, study His teachings and seek to follow Him by selflessly serving others. If you need inspiration on how to serve others during this season, there are ideas and resources online at that may help us share the light of Christ with others (#lighttheworld).

Commemorating the birth of the Saviour, or celebrating the gospel generally, should not impose an undue burden or financial hardship. In the New Testament, Christ cleansed the temple and kicked out the moneychangers as their focus was on money rather than the sacred purpose of the temple as a house of prayer (Mark 11:15-17).

It is my prayer that we remember and focus on Christ this season, and how we can become more like Him. As we apply His teachings to our lives, it is my hope that others will desire to know Christ because they know you.

The late President Gordon B. Hinckley (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) said: “The Son of God, even Jesus Christ, lives. He was born and lived in humble circumstances. He ministered among the children of men. He died in holy innocence. He arose from the grave in majesty with His resurrected body. And He will return again to the earth in great triumph and glory. He is indeed our Saviour and our Redeemer, the Only Begotten of the Father. And because He lives, so shall we live eternally.”

May Jesus be the object of our worship, and the focus of our lives during this Christmas season, and always. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.