All I wanted to do today was listen to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, I seem to miss it every year for some reason or another. Tonight, we got out of church at 6pm, (our building is being remodeled so we are on the 3-6pm schedule, yes, it hurts to get out of Church at dark!) That of course was when the program started We had a family dinner and I missed the 8pm re-broadcast, as I was trying to get the kids to bed.
Finally, everyone was down and I was able to watch it. I needed it. I knew I would. It’s amazing how the Holy Ghost prepares you for what you need. I wanted to share some notes from the talks in this post tonight while the ideas are fresh in my mind. (The link to watch it is above.)
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf –
When we prepare for Christmas by pondering its real meaning, we prepare to experience the Christ and His message.
Three things that we can do to study, ponder, and apply during this season of preparation –
1. Rejoice in the birth of our Savior
- At the birth of Jesus Christ, the joy in heaven was so great that it could not be contained. Angels parted the veil to proclaim the Good News.
- Wisemen, Shepherds, and Angels took time to rejoice.
- Prophets in scripture looked forward to His birth.
2. Ponder His influence in our lives today
- If things (i.e. the “busy-ness” of life) detracts from the Savior and His message of peace, slow down, cut back, and reconsider the things that matter.
- Christmas is a time to renew our devotion to, and covenants with, the Savior and to reassess our lives, feelings, thoughts, and actions.
- Let this be a time of remembrance, gratitude and forgiveness.
- Ponder His Atonement, renew and recommit our lives to Him.
- By doing these things, we honor Him far more than with gifts, lights or parties.
3. Look steadfastly for His coming
- The early disciples yearned for His coming.
- 2,000 years later, we are His disciples, living and serving at a time before His triumphal return. Our work is to prepare ourselves and the world for the coming of the Messiah in glory when he will usher in a time of peace, joy and learning.
- We say, as with John the Apostle, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
Use this time to draw closer to our families, the Church and our fellowman. See this time of year with new eyes, and if we do, our eyes will see the good throughout the year.
President Henry B. Eyring –
President Eyring shared his thoughts about the life of the Savior, reminding us of his greatness in the Premortal life, and that “this little child was a gift from Heavenly Father.”
Then he shared a story about his grandmother, stating that after his visit with her, “I had gone to comfort and came away comforted. This is the Spirit of Christmas, the desire to give joy to others as we have been given joy.”
From my notes –
The Savior has told us what we can give to Him that will give Him joy –
- We can, out of faith and love, give the gift of a broken heart and contrite spirit.
- We can repent.
- We can make sacred covenants with Him.
- We can do unto others as He would do for them, Matt. 25:34-40. Each act of kindness to anyone is an act of kindness to Him.
- Of all of the acts of goodness for others that we can do, the greatest is to share your witness of the Savior, the bread of life, (to give spiritual food and drink to others.)
President Thomas S. Monson –
Bringing the Christmas Spirit into our homes takes conscious effort and planning, but it can be accomplished.
He always reads three texts at Christmastime –
- The Mansion, by Henry Van Dyke (Downloadable copy here)
- A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (Downloadable copy here)
- Luke 2
President Monson shared a story about a man, John B. Matheson, Jr. who, after WWII, who gave a gift out of pity and self-satisfaction, but received a gift in return that was given out of great sacrifice. He was filled with the Spirit of Christmas after that.
Then he said that this Christmas should be –
- A time to light the lives of children.
- A time to call our families together.
- A time to give friendship and help to the needy.
- A time for prayers of peace and protection.
- A time for forgetting self and finding time for others.
- A time for discarding the meaningless and stressing true values.
- A time of peace, for we have found peace in His teachings.
- A time to remember the Savior – to share in the song of Angels, the gladness of the Shepherds and the worship of the Wisemen.
I needed to hear that. I needed to reconnect. November flew by so quickly, that I didn’t even have a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving. Perhaps I can help this season slow down by savoring the time with my little family and the worship of the Savior.
Again, from President Uchtdorf, “Let this be a time of remembrance, gratitude and forgiveness.”