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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Do Mormons celebrate Christmas

 Do Mormons celebrate Christmas 

Mormon Church building

Mormons, members of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), indeed celebrate Christmas, but their approach to the holiday has unique elements influenced by their religious beliefs and traditions. In this article, we shall deeply discuss how they celebrate the holiday with examples.

Origins of Christmas Celebration among Mormons:

The roots of Christmas celebrations among Mormons can be traced back to the early days of the Church. While Christmas wasn't initially emphasized in the 19th-century Church, the celebration gradually gained prominence. In the early church, Easter celebration was even given more prominence than Christmas. Today, Christmas is a cherished and widely observed holiday among Mormons worldwide contrary to what most people believe.

 Religious Significance of Mormons:

For Mormons, Christmas is a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ, a central figure in their faith. It is not just a time for them to eat and be merry like a lot of other people. The Church's teachings emphasize Christ's role as the Savior, and his birth is a pivotal event in their theological narrative. The Christmas season provides an opportunity for Mormons to deepen their spiritual connection and express gratitude for the gift of Jesus Christ.

Family-Centric Celebrations:

Mormon families place a strong emphasis on togetherness during the Christmas season. Family gatherings, festive meals, and the exchange of gifts are integral parts of their celebrations. Many Mormons see Christmas as a time to strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories. Apart from preaching to people and making them realize that Christ is the reason for Christmas, they also gather to have family time with their loved ones.

Unique Traditions of Mormons:

Mormons worshipers

While Mormons share some common Christmas traditions with other Christian denominations, they also have distinctive customs. One notable tradition is the performance of nativity scenes, where families or congregations act out the biblical account of the birth of Jesus. These nativity scenes serve as a reminder of the sacred nature of Christmas and help Mormons focus on the spiritual aspect of the holiday. These plays are mostly performed by the youths of each denomination and are sometimes live-streamed to reach a wider audience. They would usually tell the intricate details of the birth of Jesus as illustrated in either of the first four books of the New Testament and then link the story with Christmas. They explicitly believe that the word “Christmas” is an amalgamation of Christ and Mass meaning a gathering of people for Christ, hence their backing for their beliefs.

 Religious Services of Mormons:

Attending church services is a crucial part of Christmas celebrations for Mormons. Special Christmas-themed worship services, including musical performances and messages centered around the birth of Christ, are organized by local congregations. These services provide an opportunity for communal worship and reflection on the religious significance of Christmas.In fact, it is rare or impossible for you to find a true Mormon that would just sit at home on Christmas Day and start festivities without attending church to first celebrate the reason for the season.

Emphasis on Christlike Giving:

Mormons place a strong emphasis on charitable acts and service during the Christmas season. The teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly the principle of selfless love and service, inspire Mormons to engage in acts of kindness and generosity. Many Mormon communities organize service projects or participate in charitable initiatives to help those in need during the holidays.They reach out to both believers and non-believers during the season as their belief is that Christ died for all so it would not be Christlike to give gifts to only Christians. This has proven to be an effective way of showing and bringing unbelievers to the light of Christ which according to them, is the sole purpose of Christmas.

 The Church's Official Stance of Mormons:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially encourages its members to celebrate Christmas and emphasizes the importance of focusing on the Savior's birth. Church leaders often deliver messages and sermons during the Christmas season, reinforcing the spiritual significance of the holiday and encouraging members to live Christlike lives.

 Christmas Devotionals:

Pastor preaching to the members

In addition to regular worship services, the Church organizes special Christmas devotionals. These events feature inspirational messages, musical performances, and reflections on the meaning of Christmas. Christmas devotionals provide Mormons with a unique opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate the season in a spiritually uplifting environment.

 Integration of Cultural Elements:

While Christmas celebrations among Mormons are deeply rooted in religious traditions, there's also room for cultural expressions. Mormons around the world incorporate local customs and practices into their Christmas festivities, making each celebration unique to the region.

 Focus on Family Home Evenings:

Mormons have a tradition called "Family Home Evening," a designated night for families to spend time together, share spiritual messages, and engage in activities that strengthen family ties. During the Christmas season, Family Home Evenings often center around the teachings of Jesus Christ and the values associated with the holiday. Most people celebrating Christmas do not engage in this kind of meeting as their primary focus is on enjoying the food and drinks of Christmas. Mormons truly understand that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, so above all the food and drinks. Jesus must be honored.

 Modesty in Decorations:

Mormon culture tends to emphasize modesty and simplicity. While Christmas decorations are certainly a part of the celebrations, Mormons may be more inclined towards understated and meaningful displays, steering away from overly extravagant or commercial aspects of the holiday. This means they will not go over the top and decorate like the regular Christmas celebrants. Their belief is that the decoration must be done to glorify Christ and if it does not glorify him, there is no point.

Seasonal Music and Choir Performances:

Music plays a significant role in Mormon Christmas celebrations. Many congregations organize special choir performances and musical events featuring traditional Christmas carols and hymns. These performances not only enhance the festive atmosphere but also contribute to the spiritual experience of the season. The emphasis on music reflects the belief that the arts can be a powerful means of expressing faith and devotion.


Christmas Devotional Broadcasts:


In the spirit of unity, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broadcasts Christmas devotionals to a global audience. These devotional events, often featuring Church leaders and choirs, allow Mormons worldwide to participate in a shared celebration of the holiday. The messages delivered during these broadcasts emphasize universal themes of love, peace, and the significance of Christ's birth. This is similar to their “Family Home Evenings” except that it’s on a wider scale to draw people to Christ.

Advent Observance:

While not as universally practiced as in some other Christian denominations, some Mormon families observe the Advent season leading up to Christmas. This may involve the use of Advent calendars, scripture readings, and prayer to help prepare hearts and minds for the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. The focus is on spiritual anticipation and reflection throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Temple Celebrations of Mormons:

Inner view of Mormons temple

Temples, considered sacred places by Mormons, take on special significance during the Christmas season. While the specific observances may vary, some temples are adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. The peaceful and reverent atmosphere of the temple provides a serene setting for Mormons to ponder the spiritual aspects of Christmas and express gratitude for the blessings they believe come through Jesus Christ. Due to deep reflections of Christ’s love, they may begin to shed tears.

Missionary Activities:

Mormon missionaries, who actively share their beliefs with others, often engage in special Christmas-themed outreach. This may include organizing community events, participating in service projects, or sharing messages about the significance of Christ's birth. Christmas provides missionaries with a unique opportunity to connect with individuals and communities, fostering a sense of goodwill and understanding.


Mormon baptism for a new convert

International Variations:

Given the global nature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christmas celebrations among Mormons exhibit diverse cultural influences. In various countries, Mormons integrate local customs and traditions into their festivities, adding a unique flair to the way Christmas is observed. This international diversity highlights the adaptability of Christmas celebrations within the Mormon faith.

Reflection on the Savior's Life:

Christmas serves as a starting point for a broader reflection on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Beyond the festivities, Mormons use the Christmas season as a time to contemplate the Savior's mission, ministry, and sacrifice. This reflection extends to a commitment to follow Christ's example in daily life, emphasizing principles of compassion, forgiveness, and love throughout the entire year.

Community Involvement:

Mormons are encouraged to actively participate in their communities, and Christmas provides an excellent opportunity for community engagement. Many Mormon congregations organize or participate in local Christmas events, charitable initiatives, and service projects. By contributing to the well-being of their communities, Mormons aim to embody the principles of love and goodwill associated with the Christmas season. Oddly enough, people believe because they are the “crying church”, participation in local Christmas events is not on their agenda. Meanwhile, this is just a stereotype attached to the church that does not reflect their reality.



Mormons children celebrating Christmas

In conclusion, the celebration of Christmas among Mormons is a multifaceted and meaningful observance that combines religious traditions, family-focused activities, and a commitment to Christlike living. The unique aspects of Mormon Christmas celebrations reflect the rich tapestry of their faith, emphasizing a balance between spiritual devotion and festive joy. Through a combination of religious services, family gatherings, charitable acts, and cultural expressions, Mormons worldwide come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, finding inspiration and joy in the timeless message of love and hope that Christmas represents.