Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asked Christians to consider their observance of Christmas and to focus more on Jesus Christ. He made the remarks at the BYU Management Society Christmas devotional in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, December 9, 2015.
“Even in secular terms, His life has had greater impact on every part of this world and its history than any life ever lived,” Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told the network of business professionals.
“No one who has ever lived has more monuments to His life and teaching than He,” Elder Oaks said of Jesus Christ. “The greatest art and music of the Western world has been devoted to celebrating the birth and the life and the mission of Jesus Christ. Kingdoms have been founded and overthrown to serve His purposes, as the leaders of that time supposed. … Millions have given their lives, and, more importantly, millions have patterned their lives after the Lord God of Israel, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, our Savior.”
He told the group that we live in “peace and prosperity when we follow His teachings,” but “virtually every unhappiness and sorrow in the world is traceable to failures to follow His teachings.”
“We must not forget our worshipping and witnessing of the Savior of all mankind,” he emphasized. “For centuries, Christmas has been a celebration of Jesus Christ and the significance of His ministry. But in recent years it has become a secular holiday with observances that overshadow or replace Him and His ministry.”
Elder Oaks contrasted features of Christmas observances past and present: the Savior vs. Santa Claus, worshipping vs. spending, attending religious services vs. attending bowl games and Christian Christmas music vs. Christmas music unrelated to the Savior.
He continued, “As I view our recent history — say the last century — religious observances of the birth and mission of the Savior have evolved from Christ-centered observances into a tremendous holiday of gift-giving. The focus on worldly gifts has gradually and now almost decisively overshadowed the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday.”
“The gift that Christ gives is the greatest gift ever given, and it is available to each of us. That is the gift we should celebrate at this and every Christmas,” Elder Oaks concluded.
To learn more about Elder Oaks’s address, read the full transcript.