“Jesus Christ is God’s transcendent gift — the gift of the Father to all of His children,” said President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional. “That birth we joyfully celebrate each Christmas season.”
The prophet encouraged Latter-day Saints to “accept many gifts offered by the Lord,” including an unlimited capacity to love, the ability to forgive, repentance and the promise of “life everlasting,” or eternal life.
Other speakers included Sister Sharon Eubank of the Relief Society General Presidency, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy.
“I’ve been fretting about all the people our humanitarian aid can’t reach and how the nations sometimes make it difficult for us to reach brothers and sisters who suffer,” said Sister Eubank, who oversees the Church’s humanitarian efforts as director of LDS Charities.
“Jesus Christ will repair every bad note and redeem every sour overtone if we turn to Him and ask for His help,” she explained, recalling stories from her childhood of the challenging experience of learning to sing and play “Silent Night” on the piano.
“This time of year always brings memories of Christmas celebrations from my childhood,” shared Elder Stevenson. “What I remember most of Christmases past — my most poignant and favorite memories — are not about what I received but what I gave.”
Elder Stevenson remembers giving out Christmas baskets to widows as a youth. When he and his wife became parents, their family started a tradition of giving Christmas presents to a needy family. “This family tradition of service helped to etch the true spirit of Christmas in our hearts.”
“I invite each of us to choose to do something that expresses, in an outward way, our inward feelings about our Savior, Jesus Christ, as the gift we give Him this year,” he said.
“The spirit of Christmas is the same everywhere,” taught Elder Vinson. “We don’t need to travel to the Holy Land to make a difference or to draw closer to our Savior. Christmas is a time when we can focus on our personal gift to the Savior by continually loving and helping others.”
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the devotional.
Music was provided by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and Orchestra at Temple Square. Songs included “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.”
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.