“Our hope is to capture the true spirit of Christmas for ourselves and for those we love,” said President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional. “That spirit is characterized by peace,” President Eyring told the thousands of people gathered for the annual event in the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday, December 4, 2016.
“Some of us live in beautiful and peaceful surroundings, yet we are experiencing inner turmoil. Others feel peace and perfect serenity in the midst of great personal loss, tragedy and continuing trials,” he said. “That peace we seek is only through and because of Jesus Christ.”
“No announcement was more significant than the angel’s appearance to Mary,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke about the “prophetic announcements” of the Savior’s birth, including those of Isaiah, a prophet of the Old Testament, and Book of Mormon prophets.
“As we prepare for His Second Coming, and as we stand in holy places, we persist in observing Christmas not just as a season of ‘Greetings’ or ‘Happy Holidays,’ but as a celebration of the birth of the Son of God and a time to remember His teachings and the eternal significance of His Atonement,” said Elder Oaks.
“Those ‘holy places’ surely include the temple and its covenants faithfully kept, a home where children are treasured and taught, and our various posts of duty assigned by priesthood authority, including missions, temples and other callings faithfully fulfilled in branches, wards and stakes,” he explained.
“This wonderful time of the year, Christmastime, invites feelings of tenderness, joy and love,” expressed Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy. “The light we love at Christmas emanates from the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.”
“Christ’s birth was unlike any other,” said Elder Christensen, who addressed the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. “We rejoice because the confusion and chaos of this world can be hushed by the promise made to us from the very beginning — a promise fulfilled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For this reason, the story of Christmas is not fully told without the story of Easter. It was the Savior’s atoning sacrifice that made holy the silent night in Bethlehem.”
Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, reminisced about the best Christmas gifts he received from his parents as a child that were not tangible. “I believe that the joy of giving and receiving gifts can turn our hearts toward the ‘gifts of God.’”
Brother Holmes focused his remarks on the gift of the Holy Ghost, which he said can be obtained by having a desire to receive it, by righteously participating in ordinances and by increasing faith.
“If we desire the Holy Ghost as our daily companion, we will feast on and obey the word of Christ received through the scriptures, living prophets and the whisperings of the Spirit,” he said. “God offers His priceless gifts freely to us at Christmas and throughout the year. I pray we will not leave them unopened but receive them by turning these keys.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency conducted the devotional. Music was provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
The live broadcast was viewed around the world on LDS.org, the Mormon Channel, BYUtv and in local meetinghouses. Click on the video below to watch the devotional in its entirety.
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.