Monday, December 23, 2013

Mormon Monday: When Do Mormons Believe Christ Was Born?

With Christmas Day fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about our Savior's birth.

Some people don't celebrate Christmas, because they either believe that it originally began as a pagan holiday or they believe that it has become too commercialized and that we should celebrate Christ every day, not just once a year. 

The history of Christmas is actually very convoluted.  I thought I understood vaguely where it came from, but when I checked out the wikipedia article on it (link here), I realized that it didn't necessarily begin as a pagan holidays and many religions do actually believe that Christ was born on Christmas.  According to one source, "The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived."  Basically, the traditional Christmas has had a confusing and mixed history.

Nowadays, according to Wikipedia, "the exact month and day of his birth are unknown."  Christmas is seen as a commemoration (to honor the memory of by some observance) of Christ.  In general, it doesn't really matter WHAT day Christ was born, the important thing is that He WAS born and He DID live.

However, what do Mormons believe?  

We believe that we do know when Christ was born.  We believe in modern revelation, which means that God still talks to His servants in these days.  (See other blog about that here.)  The Lord still lives.  He has always talked to prophets and had prophets to guide his children in what he wanted him to do.  God doesn't change, so if He has always had prophets, shouldn't he always have prophets?  

We believe that our prophets have been told when Christ was born.  Read the following excerpt from a Student Manuel.

D&C 20:1. Why Was the Church Organized on 6 April?

The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded that the Lord commanded them to organize the Church on 6 April 1830 (see History of the Church, 1:64). The importance of 6 April was explained by President Harold B. Lee: “April 6, 1973, is a particularly significant date because it commemorates not only the anniversary of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation, but also the anniversary of the birth of the Savior, our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 4; or Ensign, Apr. 1973, p. 2).

President Spencer W. Kimball commented that “the name Jesus Christ and what it represents has been plowed deep into the history of the world, never to be uprooted. Christ was born on the sixth of April. Being one of the sons of God and His Only Begotten, his birth is of supreme importance.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, pp. 3–4; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 4.)
So, though we don't believe that Christ was born on the 25th of December, we love the Christmas season and most of us do participate in it (everyone has their own personal choice of how they celebrate the season).  As a commemoration, it is a wonderful celebration.  A lot of miraculous and wonderful things happen when people do their best to remember Christ, regardless of what day it is.  Christmas, for some people, is the only time of the year that they really contemplate the Savior's birth.
Christmas has a wonderful spirit about it, and it is a great time to reflect on Christ's life and His ministry.  Whatever day you celebrate the birth of our Savior, may you feel the joy of his love and remember the glad tidings that were sung of by angels. 

Merry Christmas to you all.  Let us remember Christ each day, and not just on Christmas.  I know that as we do that, that we will find peace in our personal lives and guidance in this hectic world.

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