Dear brothers and sisters, what a marvelous experience this has been. The music has been sublime and the messages have warmed our hearts. The spirit of Christmas is stirring in our souls!
Memories of Christmas bring recollections of family, of gifts, and of service to others. They stem from the real reason for Christmas, that transcendent gift from our Heavenly Father. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”1
Focusing on the Lord and everlasting life can help us not only at Christmas, but through all the challenges of mortality. Imperfect people share planet earth with other imperfect people. Ours is a fallen world marred by excessive debt, wars, natural disasters, disease, and death.
Personal challenges come. A father may have lost his job. A young mother may have learned of a grave illness. A son or a daughter may have gone astray. Whatever may cause the worry, each of us yearns to find inner peace.
My message tonight pertains to the only source of true and lasting peace, Jesus the Christ—our Prince of Peace.2 This title He bore in addition to others for which He was foreordained.
He was anointed by His Father to be the Savior of the world. These two titles—the Messiah and the Christ—designated His responsibility as the anointed one.3
Under the direction of His Father, Jesus was Creator of this and other worlds.4 Jesus is our Advocate with the Father.5 Jesus was the promised Immanuel,6 the great I Am and Jehovah of Old Testament times.7
He was sent by His Father to accomplish the Atonement, the central act of all human history. Because of His Atonement, immortality became a reality for all, and eternal life became a possibility for those who choose to follow Him.8 These objectives are the work and glory of Almighty God.9
As our great Exemplar, Jesus taught us how to live, to love, and to learn. He taught us how to pray, to forgive, and endure to the end.10
He taught us 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. He taught us how to find peace of heart and mind. One day, we will stand before Him as our just Judge and merciful Master.11
These sacred responsibilities of the Lord cause us to adore Him as our personal and perennial Prince of Peace. We praise Him for our privilege as parents, grandparents, and teachers of children.
Christmastime is cherished family time. Family time is sacred time. We can help our children to turn to the Savior. Music can aid us. Our children like to sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus.”12
Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”13
He can bring peace to those whose lives have been ravaged by war. Families disrupted by military duty bear memories of war, which in my mind were imbedded during the Korean War.
Wars of our present era are more sophisticated but are still as wrenching to families. Those who so suffer can turn to the Lord. His is the consoling message of peace on earth and good will among men.14
Peace can come to those who are not feeling well. Some bodies are wounded. Others ache spiritually because of missing loved ones or other emotional trauma. Brothers and sisters, peace can come to your soul as you build faith in the Prince of Peace.
“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, … or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them.”15
“I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.”16
Peace can come to one who suffers in sorrow. Whether sorrow stems from a mistake or a sin, all the Lord requires is real repentance. Scripture pleads with us to “flee [from] youthful lusts; … [and] call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”17 Then His soothing “balm in Gilead” can heal even a sin-sick soul.18
Think of the change in John Newton, born in London in 1725. He repented from his sinful life as a slave trader to become an Anglican clergyman. With that mighty change of heart, John wrote words to the hymn “Amazing Grace.”
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.19
“Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”20
Peace can come to those whose labors are heavy:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”21
Peace can come to those who mourn. The Lord said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”22 As we endure the passing of a loved one, we can be filled with the peace of the Lord through the whisperings of the Spirit.
“Those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them.”23
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”24
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”25
Peace can come to all who earnestly seek the Prince of Peace. His is the sweet and saving message our missionaries take throughout the world. They preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by Him through the Prophet Joseph Smith.26 Missionaries teach these life-changing words of the Lord: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”27
Peace can come to all who choose to walk in the ways of the Master. His invitation is expressed in three loving words: “Come, follow me.”28
We’ll sing all hail to the Prince of Peace,29 for He will come again. Then “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”30 As the millennial Messiah, He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.31
As we follow Jesus Christ, He will lead us to live with Him and our Heavenly Father, with our families. Through our many challenges of mortality, if we remain faithful to covenants made, if we endure to the end, we will qualify for that greatest of all the gifts of God, eternal life.32 In His holy presence, our families can be together forever.
God bless you, my dear brothers and sisters. May each of you have a very merry Christmas! And may you and your loved ones enjoy forever all the blessings of our Lord—our Prince of Peace—I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.