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Ravell Call, Deseret News
Elder L. Tom Perry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at the BYU Management Society Christmas Devotional in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — Christmas is a time for families and for reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said during the BYU Management Society Salt Lake Chapter's Christmas luncheon Wednesday, held in a ballroom at the Little America Hotel.

"We live in a Christian nation, and this season of the year has most of us turning to the New Testament to read the real story of the mortal mission of our Lord and Savior," he said. "It is the season to celebrate his birth."

Looking to accounts of the Savior's birth in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Elder Perry shared some of the background and his personal insights.

"From Matthew's account, we can see he felt that our heritage is important as a guide to us in the present and also for our future," he said. "We face the same challenge today from those who think our past heritage is out of date in today's world. I see much evidence in our nation today of some who may feel that our religion is not as important in blessing our nation throughout time."

Family activities and traditions can be a beacon to the rest of the world as an example of how to live to merit Christ's choice blessings and to live in peace and harmony until the day he returns to rule and reign, Elder Perry taught.

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"So again, let the bells of Christmas ring, let beautiful music fill the air, let the message of Christmas penetrate our hearts and our souls on this most glorious occasion of all that brings us closer to our Savior," Elder Perry said. "Witness after witness has testified to this miraculous and significant event that has occurred. … It is the most celebrated event in all human history, the birth of our Lord and Savior, the only child permitted to come to earth with dual citizenship — one of heaven and one of earth — thus permitting him to have power over death through his atoning sacrifice granting the same gift of immortality to all his children."

Email: mholman@desnews.com