Christmas presents a unique opportunity to give and receive gifts but also to consider the greatest gift we have ever been given: the gift of a Savior.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have shared messages over the years that can help put the reason for holiday celebrations in perspective. We have compiled 30 quotes from LDS leaders about the most important aspects of this season.
Click through to see them all.
"Because of Jesus the Christ, we need never feel like strangers again. We will rise with the just when he returns! And because of His perfect life and eternal sacrifice, one day we can stand with the angels of heaven and receive with them an eternal gift.
"May we, this Christmas season, remember our generous Heavenly Father and give profound and heartfelt thanks to our Almighty God, who has given all of his children wings to fly."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Generous One"
"It seems appropriate that giving and receiving gifts is a central part of Christmas. After all, we are celebrating the matchless gift of God’s Son, the Savior Jesus Christ. Of course, our gifts to each other will never compare to this gift, but I believe that the joy of giving and receiving gifts can turn our hearts toward the 'gifts of God.'"
Brother Douglas D. Holmes, "The Gift of the Holy Ghost"
"The account of the first Christmas in the Book of Mormon helps us to learn and more fully understand that Jesus Christ is the “light which shineth in darkness” (see D&C 10:57–61). In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.
"Many of our memorable and enduring Christmas traditions include different kinds of lights — lights on trees, lights in and on our homes, candles on our tables. May the beautiful lights of every holiday season remind us of him who is the source of all light."
Elder David A. Bednar, "The Light and the Life of the World"
"There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart — and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much; he who gives time gives more; but he who gives of himself gives all.
"Let us make Christmas real. It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others."
President Thomas S. Monson, "Christmas is Love"
"As we consider his incomprehensible suffering for us, surely among the saddest five words our Savior ever uttered were these: 'Will ye also go away?' When times are difficult, we can make the choice to turn away from him and struggle through our afflictions alone, or we can make the choice to turn to him and the Father’s plan, finding that we will 'suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.' My prayer for each of us is to accept the invitation of the sacred Christmas hymn to 'come, let us adore him' and our Heavenly Father for his glorious and perfect plan!"
Sister Linda K. Burton, "Oh, Come, Let Us Adore Him—the Plan!"
"As we sing in choirs, families and classes, and as we have listened together tonight, the carols of Christmas remind us of our shouts of joy when we learned that we could come to this world and be given a Savior to redeem us. Someday we will sing those songs with the hosts of heaven."
President Henry B. Eyring, "The Perfect Gift"
"Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!"
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Settle This in Your Hearts"
"May we take time this Christmas season to renew our covenants to follow the Savior and to do his will, just as he did the will of our Heavenly Father. As we do so, the words of King Benjamin’s people, recorded 125 years before the Savior’s birth, will be fulfilled for us today: 'O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men' (Mosiah 4:2).
Elder Robert D. Hales, "The Promise of Christmas"
"At Christmas when we ponder the birth of Jesus and his example of near-constant service, we are prone to draw from our own resources that which would bless and liberate others. The stories of people helping and blessing one another at Christmastime are legion. And that is certainly one of the main reasons we rejoice so much in this holiday. ...
"And so at Christmas, the stories of sacrifice and ministering multiply across the world. Our gifts and service gladden hearts; the kindness of others pours healing balm into our own wounds. It is living the Savior’s way of life. And since, as he, we came down from heaven to do the will of the Father, it must not be only an annual event, but rather the pattern of our lives. In all that serves to deepen our empathy, broaden our understanding, and purify our souls, his declaration reassures us: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "The Condescension of God and of Man"
"The spirit of Christmas makes us all more charitable, thoughtful and kind. We are taught in the scriptures that 'every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.' That feeling which compels even the most cantankerous soul to show brotherly kindness at Christmastime comes from God. How much more are those who are already seeking to become like the Savior filled with love and compassion at this season? The spirit of Christmas is Christlike love. The way to increase the Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves. The best gifts are not material things but gifts of listening, of showing kindness, of remembering, of visiting, of forgiving, of giving time."
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, "Christmas is Christlike Love."
"The sweetest gift given at Christmas will always be the one our Savior Himself gave us: his perfect peace. He said: 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid' (John 14:27). Even in a world where peace seems far off, the Savior’s gift of peace can live in our hearts regardless of our circumstances. If we accept the Savior’s invitation to follow him, lasting fear is forever banished. Our future has been secured. These are the 'good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.' 'Fear thou not,' the prophet Isaiah reminded us, 'for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness' (Isaiah 41:10)."
Elder L. Whitney Clayton, "Fear Not"
"Every gift that is offered to us — especially a gift that comes from the heart — is an opportunity to build or strengthen a bond of love. When we are good and grateful receivers, we open a door to deepen our relationship with the giver of the gift. But when we fail to appreciate or even reject a gift, we not only hurt those who extend themselves to us, but in some way we harm ourselves as well.
"The Savior taught that unless we 'become as little children, (we) shall not enter … the kingdom of heaven.'
"As we watch the excitement and wonder of children at this time of the year, perhaps we can remind ourselves to rediscover and reclaim a precious and glorious attribute of children — the ability to receive graciously and with gratitude."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Good and Grateful Receiver"
"In these precious moments we realize what we feel and know in our heart—that Christmas is really about the Christ."
President Thomas S. Monson, "Of Curtains, Contentment and Christmas"
"We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves—giving of the riches of the heart and mind—and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store."
President James E. Faust, "A Christmas with no Presents"
"At this focal point of all human history, a point illuminated by a new star in the heavens revealed for just such a purpose, probably no other mortal watched —none but a poor young carpenter, a beautiful virgin mother and silent stabled animals who had not the power to utter the sacredness they had seen.
"Shepherds would soon arrive and later, wise men from the East. Later yet the memory of that night would bring Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph — and all would be welcome. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby — that's how Christmas began. ...
"Perhaps recalling the circumstances of that gift, of his birth, of his own childhood, perhaps remembering that purity and faith and genuine humility will be required of every celestial soul, Jesus must have said many times as he looked into the little eyes that loved him (eyes that always best saw what and who he really was), 'Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' ”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "'Maybe Christmas Doesn’t Come from a Store' "
"The light we love at Christmas emanates from the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. The story we cherish at Christmas tells of our Father’s plan of happiness, which Christ made possible. The gift that makes the Christmas season sacred is His very life, which He gave that we might have everlasting life."
Elder Craig C. Christensen, "The Fulness of the Story of Christmas"
"Being ready to receive him gives all new meaning to being ready for December 25."
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, "What Happens After Christmas Matters"
"For me, one of the greatest miracles of the Christmas story is the love which it reflects. First is the love which our Father in Heaven has for his children: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' There is the love which the Savior has for each of us. 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' The love of God has been described as 'the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love' 'and the most joyous to the soul.' This spirit of love and concern seems to be especially strong during the Christmas season."
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, "Christmas is Christlike Love"
"This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.
"Christmas is a celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning — with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself unselfishly in the things that matter most."
President Howard W. Hunter, "The Gifts of Christmas"
"The wonder and awe of Christmas is just a beginning. Christmas reminds us that the babe born in Bethlehem has given us purpose for living, and what happens next to us largely depends on how we embrace our Savior, Jesus Christ, and follow him. Every day we invite his Spirit into our lives. We see light in others; we hear the joy of children’s voices that bring hope and anticipation for the future. We look for reasons to gather, to include, to serve and to lift, while we learn what it really means to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. We find ourselves counting the days until the events in our lives when we more intently feel His influence — for example, the birth of a baby, a child’s baptism, a missionary departing, a marriage solemnized in the temple, and partaking of the sacrament each week. Through Christlike and childlike faith we seek him and we feel his influence."
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, "What Happened Next?"
"Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. Without Christ, there can be no fulness of joy. Without his birth and his Atonement, we would have no Intercessor, no Advocate with the Father, and no Mediator who makes it possible for us to return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father and live together as eternal families.
"I celebrate with you the beautiful and miraculous reality of the birth and mission of the Son of God, and I bear my testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer — the promised Messiah."
Elder Gary E. Stevenson, "The Reality of Christmas"
"In our day the spirit of giving gifts plays a large role in commemorating the Christmas season. I wonder if we might profit by asking ourselves, What gifts would the Lord have me give to him or to others at this precious season of the year?
"May I suggest that our Heavenly Father would want each of us to render to him and to his Son the gift of obedience. ...
"In this marvelous dispensation of the fulness of times, our opportunities to love and give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. Today there are hearts to gladden, kind words to say, deeds to be done and souls to be saved."
President Thomas S. Monson, "Rediscovering the Christmas Spirit"
"On this Christmas I send my love to every missionary, every man or woman in the military, every student, and every employee and traveler who won’t 'be home for Christmas,' as the carol says. Keep your faith. Look for the good in your situation. Do something kind for someone. Seek Christ devoid of wrapping and tinsel. You will find that despite external circumstances, Christmas — like the kingdom of God — is 'within you' (Luke 17:21)."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Christmas Within You"
“When we see shepherds, may we remember to be humble. When we see wise men, may we remember to be generous. When we see the star, may we remember the Light of Christ, which gives life and light to all things. When we see a tiny baby, may we remember to love unconditionally, with tenderness and compassion.”
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, "Christmas is Christlike Love"
"Christmas is a time for remembering the Son of God and renewing our determination to take upon us his name. It is a time to reassess our lives and examine our thoughts, feelings and actions. Let this be a time of remembrance, of gratitude and a time of forgiveness. Let it be a time to ponder the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its meaning for each of us personally. Let it especially be a time of renewal and recommitment to live by the word of God and to obey his commandments. By doing this, we honor him far more than we ever could with lights, gifts or parties."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Seeing Christmas Through New Eyes"
"Angels, shepherds, and Wise Men sought and found peace from their faith in Jesus Christ. So will you. The Savior’s birth is the gift that makes it possible for the Father to give us 'peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.'"
President Henry B. Eyring, "Gifts of Peace"
"The day Jesus was born was a day of deliverance for the believers in the New World. Light as the sign of the Savior’s birth literally saved their lives."
Elder David A. Bednar, "The Light and the Life of the World"
"How will we worship him this season? Endlessly shopping? Hustling about and adorning our homes? Will that be our tribute to our Savior? Or will we bring peace to troubled hearts, goodwill to those in need of higher purpose, glory to God in our willingness to do his bidding?"
Elder Ronald A. Rasband, "Worship Jesus by Emulating Him"
"I feel certain that, as premortal spirits learning of the plan of salvation, we not only beheld and adored but also shouted for joy when he voluntarily and humbly offered himself as the Savior of the world. In five of the most profound words ever uttered, he meekly said, “Here am I, send me.”
Sister Linda K. Burton, "Oh, Come, Let Us Adore Him — and the Plan!"
"As we prepare for His Second Coming, and as we stand in holy places, we persist in observing Christmas not just as a season of 'Greetings' or 'Happy Holidays' but as a celebration of the birth of the Son of God and a time to remember His teachings and the eternal significance of His Atonement. I pray that we will be faithful in doing so."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Prophetic Announcements of Christ’s Birth"