Why do we celebrate Christmas? Is it because a child was born or is it because that Child became our Savior by His atoning sacrifice? I believe it is the latter. Billions, even trillions, of babies have been born on earth, but only one of those children was the Son of God. The Son of God became the Savior of all mankind.
Each person on earth once lived with Heavenly Father. We attended a Grand Council in our pre-earth life where Heavenly Father laid out His plan of salvation for His children. We shouted for joy because we were so happy. (See Job 38:7.)
We understood that part of our Father’s plan was for us to leave our home in heaven for a while and leave the presence of our heavenly parents. Heavenly Father planned to send His children to earth to gain physical bodies and to gain knowledge and experience.
Heavenly Father knew that we would sin and need help to return to His presence; therefore, He planned for a Savior. Heavenly Father asked in that Grand Council, “Whom shall I send?” (Abraham 3:27). Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, then known as Jehovah, said, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27). He came to earth as a Baby and is known as Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ was willing to come to earth, to give His life for His brothers and sisters, and to take upon Him our sins. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ wanted us to choose to obey their commandments. They knew that we must be free to choose in order to work out our salvation. Jesus said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2). Lucifer, now known as Satan, also made an offer: “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1).
In other words, Jesus Christ wanted us to exercise our agency and free will to choose to be obedient; Satan on the other hand was willing to take away our agency and force us into obedience. In addition to his forcing all of us to be obedient, he wanted to be our God.
Heavenly Father listened while each of His older sons presented their plans and then said, “I will send the first” (Abraham 3:27). He chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, and Jesus Christ accepted the responsibility.
Satan was angry because Father chose Jesus Christ and rejected him. He rebelled and led his followers in a war against Jesus and those who chose to follow Him. Satan and his army were defeated and then sent away from the presence of God. A third part of the heavenly hosts were cast down from heaven. They were punished for their rebellion by being denied the right to receive physical bodies. They are here on earth as spirit beings without physical bodies. They have not forgotten who we are and that we fought against them. They spend their time tempting us and trying to convince us that they have a better plan. Their attempts seem rather silly, but they are successful with far too many people.
We know that we are here on earth and have mortal bodies of flesh and blood. We have physical bodies because we chose to follow Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. We stood with them when Satan rebelled. We made the right choice in heaven and have the agency to continue to make right choices here on earth.
The gospel of Jesus Christ reveals all that we must do to follow Jesus and return to our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ taught the plan of salvation and exaltation by His words and by His example. He established His church on earth before His death and resurrection. He established it again in our day and restored his priesthood authority. His teachings are in the scriptures. Through His atoning sacrifice, He made it possible for us to repent of our sins and become worthy to return to live with Him and Heavenly Father for all eternity.
I know that we can return to live with our heavenly parents and Jesus Christ if we will follow our Savior. He made it possible for us to live with Him forever and then gave us the opportunity to choose if we wanted to do it. I love Heavenly Father and His willingness to send His Son to earth to die for me. I love my Savior for His willingness to suffer, bleed and die for me. I know they live and love me too.