Our Christmas Traditions by Melinda Scott
“We love to begin our Christmas season with the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional. Then we go to the “Walk in Bethlehem” at a local Christian church, and attend a local Messiah sing-in. Our extended family party usually includes Christmas carols and gingerbread house making. Caroling with our neighbors to our elderly ward members is a newer tradition, and we finish up with the long-time favorite of the story of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve. Intermixed are other special occasions, but the ones listed are the special ones year after year.”
Written by Melinda Scott
Carrying forward a tradition of many years, the First Presidency presented their annual Christmas devotional broadcast December 2, 2012.
Acknowledging that the Christmas season with its special meaning and beauty brings “rest to the weary soul,” President Thomas S. Monson observed, “It is easy to get caught up in the pressure of the season and perhaps lose the very spirit in our lives that we’re trying to gain.”
President Monson urged, “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart – and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much; he who gives time gives more; but he who gives of himself gives all.”
President Eyring said that success in giving joy to others usually requires help from others, he explained. “And joining your efforts with the generosity of other people both spreads the joy and makes it more lasting.”
He also said that from time to time he still sees and thanks the people who helped him create the box for his wife. “When I see them again I can feel the joy we shared in creating a gift of love for a family and a token of the love we share for the Savior,” he recalled.
Such shared joy can come from creating and offering simple gifts of love, he explained.
President Uchtdorf spoke of an event that took place during the last night of the Savior’s mortal life. “He gathered His beloved disciples around Him, broke bread with them, and gave them precious final instructions. Do you remember that as the meal progressed, Jesus rose from the table, poured water into a basin, and began to wash His disciples’ feet?”
When the Savior came to Simon Peter, the fisherman refused. “I’m sure Peter thought he had noble reasons for refusing this gift and felt he was doing the right thing. But at that moment, he clearly did not understand the spiritual significance of what Jesus was offering him.”
President Uchtdorf said at Christmastime people talk a lot about giving, “but I wonder if sometimes we disregard or even disparage the importance of being a good receiver.”
If you missed the Christmas Devotional by The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints you can watch it here.