“Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit,” said Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the Church’s annual Christmas devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, 8 December 2013.
President Monson said the celebration of Christmas should be a reflection of the love and selflessness taught by the Savior. “We feel more kindly one to another. We reach out in love to help those less fortunate. Our hearts are softened. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of our soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.”
Three other Church leaders joined President Monson on the program, and music was provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
Rosemary M. Wixom, general Primary president, told the story of an eight-year-old Cub Scout in Gilbert, Arizona, who had shown a great interest in the story of Jesus’s birth. As his den leader was telling it, “John waited on every word,” said Sister Wixom, and he wanted to know “What happened next?” The den leader explained how Jesus grew from an infant into a boy and then a man and then how His life on earth ended. “He died for you,” the leader said. “John, Jesus Christ died for you.” In wonder, he asked, “He did that for me?”
“The wonder and awe of Christmas is just a beginning,” said Sister Wixom. “Christmas reminds us that the babe born in Bethlehem has given us purpose for living, and what happens next to us largely depends on how we embrace our Savior, Jesus Christ, and follow Him.”
Imagine the scene in Judea during the birth of Jesus Christ, suggested Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy — “the sky filled with the brilliance of a magnificent star and choruses from heaven marking this singular event.” He said each Christmas is a witness that the “literal Son of the living God came to a corner of the earth in what we call the Holy Land.”
Jesus taught His followers how to live, love and learn, said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “He taught us how to pray, to forgive, … how to care about others more than we care about ourselves. He taught us about mercy and kindness — making real changes in our lives through His power.”
Elder Nelson said, “Focusing on the Lord and everlasting life can help us not only at Christmas, but through all the challenges of mortality.”
View the entire Christmas devotional at this LDS.org link: https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/christmas-devotional/2013/12?lang=eng&vid=2912344387001