The LDS Church Celebrates Christmas Just Like the World Does
Because of back pain, I have had to spend quite a bit of time at home. As a result, I have watched a few Christmas movies on TV. Almost all, in some way or other, send the message that the true meaning of Christmas is giving. Not about God loving the world so much that he gave his Son. No, they all focus on how Christmas generates a giving spirit in us.
Another thing I have done is read the Ensign, the LDS Church’s monthly magazine. Lo and behold, I saw the very same thing there in its December issue! For example, an LDS apostle, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, tells the story of a pioneer mother who stayed up on Christmas Eve baking cookies for her children so they would have something for Christmas. He concludes: “Yet she was committed to bring joy to her children, to reinforce their faith, to affirm in their home, ‘Happy Day! All is well!’ Isn’t that the message of Christmas?” (my emphasis).
He then goes on to talk about the LDS Church’s social media Christmas campaign (For a critique of the plan, go here). He says it is “to encourage people to emulate Him by serving others during the Christmas season.” A little bit later he quotes President Monson: “As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others”.
There is not even a whiff of Jesus as our substitute, being born to take our place! Instead of the tremendous relief of Jesus doing it for us, it is all about trying hard to follow his example (talk about a burden!).
Then there was an article by a man who served a mission in Thailand. It is all about how the LDS members in Thailand gave and gave at Christmas. He concludes: “By inviting others and truly giving, we, like the Saints in Thailand, can have the true spirit of Christmas with us during this Christmas season.”
Here are my two takeaways. First, since the world and the LDS Church stress the same thing, many people will be attracted to its message. How can anybody be offended by an emphasis on giving when even secular society focuses on it? In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised if their social media campaign attracts a lot of people.
Secondly, and more importantly, this again highlights how important it is that we clearly and repeatedly talk about Jesus as our substitute. Talking about Jesus as our Savior is not good enough. Most Mormons, when they hear this, automatically think he is the Savior by showing them what they have to do.
We have designed a Christmas card to emphasize this very point. It is all about the Lord, our Righteousness. You can find it HERE.