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President Thomas S. Monson says put Christ at center of Christmas

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  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 9, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    @Sharrona

    It's my impression that you are mostly posting toward Mormons and disagree with their form of Christianity because your posts seem to assume that your main audience at least believes in God. I would be curious to see how you would respond to atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, etc. arguments. It's easier to dispute differences within a similiar, but different religion, but more difficult (in my opinion) for any religious person to overcome or dispute arguments from non-religious perspective. I have found that scripture can often be used as an argument against religion as a whole so I do understand your use of scripture as an argument. I feel it's too bad that limitations here prevent you from using your own words more along with your scripture use. The word and post limit prevents more in-depth discussion and often promotes misunderstanding and misconceptions for all of us. I would love to discuss Classical Arguments for Gods Existence: Ontological, Cosmological, Teleological, and Moral....and more with you in a friendly discussion, but I can't imagine this board will ever support that. Thanks and continue on!

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Dec. 8, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    @ Delta Foxtrot (and, by association, RanchHand): Yes, let's talk Easter.

    The atonement of Christ, including His death and resurrection, is, to Latter-day Saints, the single most important event in the universe. We know the process began on a Thursday during the Passover, and ended on Sunday with His resurrection.

    Passover is hardly a pagan celebration, and though the solar calendar used in the United States does not always coincide with the lunar calendar used by practicing Jews, the events parallel each other often enough to allow Christians to be comfortable with their celebration of the resurrection each year.

    If you are trying to equate the fact that, in English, we use the word "Easter" to refer to the commemoration, and that the word predates the Passion, I have no argument with that. Other languages use a more relevant word.

    Just as with Christmas (again, an English word with connotations not present in other languages), there are symbols appropriated by Christianity from other sources that, I think, are perfectly innocent, and need not detract from the sacredness of the commemoration.

    I do not believe the atonement was appropriated from paganism; rather the reverse.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    RE: Joggle Perhaps you need a different approach. It's amusing how various Christian sects dispute scripture within the same religion!

    Im quite willing to discuss the following in the future(my last post). Classical Arguments for Gods Existence: Ontological, Cosmological, Teleological,and Moral.

    The Epistemological Necessity, The secular distinction between man and non-man had been he was a tool maker, not anymore. But now,in the area of language. Man is a verbalizer, we communicate propositionally with either spoken or written word. Your presupposition might be the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.

    Christianity has a different set of presuppositions. It begins with a God who is the infinite personal God who has made man in his(spiritual) image. If God made us to speak to each other in language. Then why should it be surprising to you to think of him speaking to Paul on the Damascus road? Do you think God does not know Hebrew?

    Rising from the dead is contained both in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:1) and Mamonides 13 Articles of faith. I was not quoting the Bible but Evangelicals and Mormons consider the Bible as authority

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    @DeltaFoxtrot

    I'll pass! I dislike shopping! I'm trying very hard to limit my trips to even buy food so I don't have to deal with the celebration of gluttony and pure consumerism! I must admit though I like a good light display that I can see from afar! Some things are just too difficult to avoid completely and Christmas is one of them! I always celebrate the birth of a New Year though, with wishes for peace and happiness to all!

    @sharrona

    No offense, but using copy and paste scripture as an argument instead of your own words does little to support your argument. Arguing with Bible scripture solely on the basis that it must be true is NOT a powerful argument. If we are to know for certain that the Bible is true, you will need a different kind of argument than just presenting scripture-one that is absolutely conclusive and irrefutable.

    No book on earth has been studied more than the bible has and it has been repeatedly proven incorrect during these studies.....just like the BoM and the BoA. Perhaps you need a different approach. It's amusing how various Christian sects dispute scripture within the same religion!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 8:15 a.m.

    @DeltaFoxtrot. Easter, Modern men find it difficult to conceive of someone rising from the dead. Yet such beliefs are traditional in Judaism. It is contained both in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:1) and Mamonides 13 Articles of faith.
    Also O.T.,(Is 26:19) your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. And . (Daniel 12:2)Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt
    Bikkurim( Jewish Feast of First Fruits). Fulfilled, Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. (Cor 15:20).

    @Bill in Nebraska."and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Eccl 12:7)
    Through him(YHWH) all things were made; without him Nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3) Christians believe Creation Ex Nihlio.
    Im not referencing creeds,please use some references in the future.

    God begets God, man begets man, God creates man. C.S. Lewis. (Mere Christianity)

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 7, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    @VoR;

    You and I discourse in writing all the time. To say that you can't prove I exist is ridiculous. God has NEVER written to you, I have.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 5:15 p.m.

    Sharrona,

    Honestly, the pulpit point is something I didn't know and hadn't even considered. Very interesting. I'm not sure if that's a common reason, the original reason, or just a 'some people view it this way' reason... but nonetheless it's an interest point. Thanks for sharing it.

    RanchHand,

    In every way I do NOT think that's a weak argument. Saying 'and you know it' may seem to imply I'm in some sort of denial. But such an argument itself is a strawman. If you want to argue against me, at least represent my stance better. That's the first step. The second step would be to form an intelligible and objective opinion that may persuade me. Neither exist within the statement "and you know it".

    You could have provided a better argument, and I don't know whether you know it. But I do know that objectively I have provided more here in my arguments.

    If it helps you- I'm not trying to disprove atheists. I only try to promote my experiences and sentiments in a peaceful way. And I think trying to tell someone that they are lying about their personal experiences, is hostile and provoking.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 1:14 p.m.

    @Joggle: Or you could join the rest of us in observance of Giftmas. A celebration of gluttony and pure consumerism.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:39 p.m.

    I'm coming out of the closet this year and I feel such freeedom for doing so! I dislike the pretense and commercialization involved in celebrating a holiday I don't believe in. I've decided to put Christ at the center of Christmas right where he belongs this year by not joining in the celebration because I also believe Christ either didn't exist or that if a historical Christ existed he was not the divine man that religions make him out to be. I feel like a hypocrite trying to please other people and their beliefs rather than my own. I see no reason to celebrate winter since the annual snowfall and cold is my least favorite time of year! I'm not into pagan celebrations either. Santa Claus is as real as a god. Family celebrations can be any time of year! I like the ones in the summer much more. Many families only get-together during Christmas even though they live close together and then pretend they actually like each other! I'm buying gifts for my husband's LDS family to lessen the burden on my husband's time. I now celebrate more the births of my non-LDS family members instead.

    Happy_Holidaze_anyway!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 6, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    Sharrona: The problem is that Jesus was the only begotten of the Father in the Flesh. When you change the meaning to be the only one you remove the true meaning of the verse. There are some that would even argue that it doesn't make it clearer but only that it means the same thing. We are all begotten sons and daughters of the Father. We are his spirit children and lived with him before we came to this earth. The scriptures are plain that we are all JOINT HEIRS with Jesus Christ to possess all that the Father has. As man is, God once was and as God is man may become. Notice that it does say may not will. There is a huge difference. This is a problem with many of the Christian sects of today who live by the creeds and not by what is actually taught through biblical revelations.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    @Jeff: You want to talk about Easter?

    Easter as we know it today is a result of the Christian Church overwriting and combining aspects from a number of pagan rituals celebrating fertility, the vernal equinox and the beginning of spring. This is why Easter is associated with bright colors, chicks/bunnies/eggs, green grass and etc. The church just conveniently placed a celebration of the resurrection of Christ at around the same time.

    Again, it's easier to convert people if they don't have to give up their parties.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    Re: VoR,put Christ at the center of Christmas"? True,

    Catholic and Lutheran's are examples of early Christ-centered Church worship architecture. The pulpits on the left and right, man is not the center. The Alter with communion bread is in the center with the Cross on the wall behind . Man is not centered . The transept is a cruciform, a cross.

    RE: Bill,God so loved the world that he gave his one and* only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16 NIV,NLT) *only begotten( G. monogenes)must be distinguished from generation as applied to man. See( Mosiah 7:27). God becomes man not man becomes God.

    This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about, His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. (Mt 1:18 NIV).

    The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood was begotten of His Father, as we are of our fathers. (JoD 8:115)??

  • bobosmom small town, Nebraska
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:44 p.m.

    I unfortunately due to working at a 24 facility was unable to watch it and haven't had the chance yet due to commitments. I so look forward to seeing it. May god bless everyone and may we all remember the reason for the season. God bless everyone.

  • Way of the Warrior ANACORTES, WA
    Dec. 5, 2011 9:43 p.m.

    Utter Nonsense: "Just where is Christ in the annual entertainment and light show extravaganza put on by the church?"

    He should be in your heart, just sayin' ;-)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 5, 2011 9:32 p.m.

    Just as there is compelling evidence that Christ Birth took place in the Spring, there is also quite a bit of evidence it could have been in December. The thing is that it really doesn't matter. The thing to remember is that the Birth of the Savior would have meant nothing without his death and resurrection. Otherwise, it would have been just like any other birth.

    We need to remember that at the Birth of the Savior he came into the world in the humblest of circumstances and would leave the world betrayed, mocked, whipped and crucified unto death. Yet, on an Easter Morn, a Sunday he would rise again to give us the gift of immortality. That day he would conquer death allowing each of us the same opportunity.

    As it says: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoso believest in him, shall never die but have everlasting life." Let us remember this gift to us as we celebrate the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    @Ted H; Pray away. I don't mind. Happy Holy DAYS to you as well.

    @VoR; You usually have better arguments. That was just ridiculous and you know it.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Dec. 5, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    There have been many wonderful comments here. Its sad to see arguments ensuing over the subject. Is it that important if a "pagan" holiday preceded Christmas. Many great events took place in January over the centuries and on the day that I was born, does that mean I cannot celebrate my birthday or an anniversary because that same day on the calendar has already been claimed for another commemoration? President Hinckley explained that we appropriately celebrate the return of the 'light' to the earth just as the ancients did, near the end of December.

    In our family, we choose to honor December as Christmas, knowing full well the timing has significance for others. And we love Santa Claus and try to emulate what we believe to be his style of selfless giving - and not as a replacement for Christ, but as yet another of his disciples. And so we love to sing "Silent Night", "Jingle Bells" and "Here Comes Santa Claus", all with the same fervor. And so, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Gl├Ždelig Jul, or what ever makes you happy.

  • Southern California Redondo Beach, CA
    Dec. 5, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    The devotional was wonderful! I would have loved more music though. The choir and orchestra were AWESOME! Do more next year.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 3:32 p.m.

    @Ranchhand: There is historical (non-religious) fact supporting that Christ was a man who did actually live and die. He was a real person, that was not made up. The part about virgin birth and being divine in nature, well, believe what you will.

    We do know that he was NOT a carpenter. Look at structures in the Middle East dating to that time period. Do you see any evidence of buildings made from wood? Simply, no. There aren't enough trees in the Middle East to support wooden architecture. Look at the pyramids and great temples of Egypt, they are made of stone.

    Christ the carpenter is a myth stemming from mistranslation. The carpenter myth was created at the time of the first major translation of the Bible into English, during a period when most buildings in Europe were made of wood. If you look back into the ancient texts written in Arabic, Greek, etc. the word for the occupation actually translates into "builder" not "carpenter". As buildings in the time and place of Christ's life were mostly stone/brick/stucco Joseph, and therefore Christ, were MASONS. Why do you think we have the "stone the builders rejected" parable?

  • HarryL Sacramento, CA
    Dec. 5, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    I think this article was very well written. I feel from reading it that a substantial portion of the Devotional was conveyed to me as a reader. In the past I have felt the reporting to be a bit cursory, but this time I felt the underlying message of the meeting to come through.

    Thank you.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    RanchHand,

    First, it is just as much "arguing from silence" to say God or Christ are not real as it is to say that he is.

    There are problems in what you presume in your claims.

    1) The unobserved is not able to be disproved by the observed, etc. The primitive Roman argued that no black swans existed. That argument is logistically no different. FYI, black swans were discovered a millennia later in Australia.

    --Note: I'm not saying that human science is futile, but human reason and current scientific methods are not flawless.

    2) Unlike other religious arguments. We are not claiming God is real exclusively based on self-evident principles. Claiming to have seen God is making a different claim altogether. Personal experience and witness is as arguable as evidence as my thinking you are a living person.

    RanchHand, All you've ever seen of God is His name in a book called the Bible.

    All I've ever seen of you is a name on a website.

    By the same standard you adhere to, I have just disproved your own existence.

    Scientific reason does not permit us to define our existence, it allows us to explore it.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 5, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    Actually a recent BYU Studies article made a convincing argument that 1- Christ was probably born in the winter and quite likely in December and 2- there is no LDS scripture that would suggest otherwise, the readings of Doctrine and Covenants 20 to suggest Christ was born in April being a too literalistic reading not supported by factors of linguistic use and the nature of the text itself.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Dec. 5, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    @Ted H.: What, exactly, will you be praying for for Ranchhand. That they will become a believer? That they have a Merry Christmas? That God blesses them? How will you know or Ranchhand know if that prayer is answered?

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    RanchHand,

    Merry Christmas. And may God bless you, and everyone!

    I'll pray for you!

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    @Jeff;

    You can't even prove that the person you call Christ was actually born, much less that "all things testify" of him.

    The Christ myth was stolen from other, earlier mythologies. The virgin birth, the sagacity of the child, the crucifixion and resurrection. All plagarized from other cultures by the early Christians.

    There may or may not have been a carpenter. Even if there were, the story is most likely sensationalized to create a more godlike creation and garner converts.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 5, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    I enjoyed the messages of all three members of the first presidency. They emphasized we should use this season as a time to reach out and help and bless others. We need to think more of others than of ourselves.

    I thought the video was very good. The whole thing had a spirit of love and respect for Christ.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Dec. 5, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    @ DeltaFoxtrot and RanchHand: I expect that both of you know that Latter-day Saints are not taught that Christ was born on December 25; most of us understand that Christmas is a more or less arbitrary time set up to replace pagan traditions. Early Latter-day Saints were unsure whether or not it was appropriate to celebrate Christmas, since in the Puritan traditions that many of them came from it was not celebrated.

    We celebrate it for many reasons, however. One is that "all things testify of Christ," which is reason enough to see messianic symbolism in even the pagan traditions of the tree, holly, and mistletoe.

    Another reason is that the fact that Christ was born is more important than the actual day the event occurred. We are perfectly happy to accept the tradition of a December Christmas because we are perfectly happy to celebrate the Savior's advent. Besides, December is otherwise so bleak, it is a wonderful opportunity to show what belief in Christ can do for a cold, dark, period.

    Easter is different; we know the day on the lunar calendar, and regardless of local traditions, it is about the resurrection of Christ.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    Santa vs Christ

    Does the idea and tradition of Santa Claus need to be removed in order to "put Christ at the center of Christmas"?

    While the very name of this holiday already places Christ at the center, we must conclude that how "Christ-centered" this time is rests entirely on our self-examination and willful commitment to celebrating Christ.

    While I initially thought Santa Claus was a bad idea to teach to children, it is because of this principle of self-examination that I have learned otherwise.

    It is not necessary to remove any story-telling, traditions, or pleasantries of this tradition/celebration that encourage acts of kindness while reproving selfishness, and so on- in order to place Christ at the center of our cause for celebration. Teaching children that Santa can be an embodiment of charity and kindness or embody a desire to think only of ourselves. That we choose where we place our value; that the right choice is placing our values, energy, and time in striving to come unto Christ and follow his ways.

    Kids can have presents and see Santa, but our first and paramount responsibility is teaching them about Christ, that He lives.

  • ADN Weiser, ID
    Dec. 5, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    Thank you President Monson, Eyring and Uchtdorf for inspirational messages that are simple and prophetic. We love you and appreciate all you do for us!!!

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    The devotional put me in the right frame of mind to start celebrating the Christmas season. It was truly beautiful and very simple - much like the gifts should be. It was a wonderful gift to us!

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    @bluecoug89: I hate to tell you, but it was the Church that put "Christ" in Christmas in the first place.

    What the church calls Christmas was traditionally the pagan holiday of Yule, celebrating the winter solstice. This is where we get the Christmas tree, the Yule log, caroling and the holiday ham from.

    When the early church was converting pagan peoples it was easy to simply overwrite their special observances with a Christian holiday by fudging in a few details. Makes the conversion process a lot less stressful if you don't have to give up your parties. They did the same thing with Easter.

    Christ was not born on Dec. 25th.

    Feel free to celebrate as your particular religion encourages you to... but let's not overlook the REAL reason for the season.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    President Uchtdorf said "Christmas is really about Christ."

    Jesus is the reason for the season. A precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost and bring forth a son yea, even the Son of God. ( Alma 7:10).

    The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.(Luke 1:35 KJV)

    The pale of Christianity believes the birth of Jesus was a unique miracle by the Holy Spirit/Ghost same Greek word.

    They tell us the BoM states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge that statement. The BoM teaches No Such Thing! Neither does the Bible.(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation v. 1:19)

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 5, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    I wish the church would tell the Bishops to remove Santa Claus from the ward holiday parties. My ward every year has thoughts similar to President Monson's, yet they continue to mix religion and Santa Claus in the ward holiday party. That is VERY confusing for young children and I think sends a message to them about how important Santa Claus is when we celebrate Christmas.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    Dec. 5, 2011 7:11 a.m.

    Sponsor a family this year.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2011 6:55 a.m.

    @bluecoug89;

    Christians should recall that Holidays comes from Holy Days and that theirs are not the only observances at this time of year, including the pagan celebrations they usurped to aid in converting people to Christianity. Have a Cool Yule and Merry Mithras.

  • bluecoug89 Highland, UT
    Dec. 4, 2011 9:39 p.m.

    So many people have forgotten what Christmas is truly all about. It's about the greatest gift this world has ever received, the gift of the Son of God. It's about loving one another. It's about strengthening our love for God and Jesus Christ. It's about family. It's about Christ! Merry CHRISTmas.