This is a most wonderful time of year! This is the season Christians and others all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We feel great joy as we sing Christmas carols and shop for just the right presents for our loved ones. Many people believe that we celebrate Christmas because a Child was born when in reality we celebrate Christmas because a Man gave His life and was resurrected. We celebrate Christmas because of Easter.
Jesus Christ died on the cross on Calvary and was resurrected on the third day. He died to atone for the sins of all mankind. The scriptures tell us that He “suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 9:21). He paid the price for our sins IF we repent and follow Him; He is our Redeemer because He redeemed us from our sins. Anyone who does not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior will have to pay for their own sins.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that after we are resurrected, we will stand before Jesus Christ to be used of our works and the desires of our hearts; therefore, we must prepare for that experience while in this life. He reminded us of the importance of the resurrection. “The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary!
“The assurance of resurrection also gives us a powerful incentive to keep the commandments of God during our mortal lives…” (Ensign, May 2000).
Resurrection means a reuniting of the physical body and the spirit, never to be separated again. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972) explained how the resurrection would affect our physical bodies:
“There is no reason for any person to be concerned as to the appearance of individuals in the resurrection. Death is a purifying process as far as the body is concerned. We have reason to believe that the appearance of old age will disappear and the body will be restored with the full vigor of manhood and womanhood. Children will arise as children, for there is no growth in the grave. Children will continue to grow until they reach the full stature of their spirits” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957-66], 4:185; as quoted in Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion121-122, pp. 189-190).
We do not celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born; we celebrate because He atoned for our sins and was resurrected. By His resurrection He made it possible for us to be resurrected and live forever, to gain immortality. By atoning for our sins, He made it possible for us to repent of our sins, become clean, and return to the presence of Heavenly Father.
As you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, please take some time to His life, His teachings, His atoning sacrifice, and His resurrection. He came to earth for you and I, to prepare the way for us to have immortality and eternal life.
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