The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following Christmas message:

"We rejoice with you at this glorious time of year when all Christendom celebrates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ."As recorded in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, promised signs appeared in the heavens on that holy night. Humble shepherds keeping watch over their flocks near Bethlehem were among the first to hear of the Savior's birth. An 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 the heavenly host praising God, and saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:10-14).

"The central mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to seek out the humble and the pure in heart and to share with them "good tidings of great joy," the gospel of Jesus Christ. His gospel is our only hope for peace on earth and good will toward men. May we, at this Christmas season, rededicate ourselves to living the gospel more fully in our homes and to sharing the gospel more diligently with our brothers and sisters everywhere.

"We express our love and appreciation to each of you and wish you and yours a joyous Christmas and a new year filled with health and happiness."

The message is from President Ezra Taft Benson, world leader of the church, and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson.