“Theme of Christmas Devotional: Love Is the Best Gift,” Ensign, Feb. 1984, 75–76
Members of the Church throughout the United States and Canada caught the true spirit of Christmas through a satellite-broadcast fireside December 18 which featured addresses by General Authorities and music by the Tabernacle Choir.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the service, which was also broadcast by KBYU-TV, and offered a Christmas message. Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve also spoke.
“What a glad season this is when we remember the coming of the Christ child,” President Hinckley told those listening in their homes and in receiver-equipped stake centers.
He read short excerpts from the New Testament accounts of the birth of the Savior, then from Book of Mormon testimonies of him and the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants. [D&C 76] “To all of these testimonies we add our own,” President Hinckley continued, listing the many roles of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation.
He spoke of the Master’s promises to those who keep the commandments, and noted particularly the Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. 7:12.)
“May I remind us at this Christmas season that if only each of us would reflect on that Christ-given mandate and make an effort to observe it, this would be a different world,” he commented. Then he read from a letter which, he said, “better than any feeble words of mine breathes the spirit of Christmas, exemplifies the Golden Rule, and speaks with eloquence of the love of him who gave his life as a sacrifice for all.”
The letter writer, heeding promptings of the Spirit, had sent a check for $3,000, with a promise of $1,000 more, to help some unknown worthy young man serve a mission. The writer, the text made clear, was a former resident of Beirut, Lebanon, who had won the opportunity to attend medical school in the United States despite the dismal prospect of that happening. Many times, he reported, he and his family had been spared death and injury during the strife in his native country. In the United States, he had found the gospel, been married in the temple, and, though struggling through medical school with his family, answered the prompting to share his blessings with others.
President Hinckley spoke too of the kindness of President Spencer W. Kimball years ago in Chicago’s busy O’Hare Airport, where he took time to help a tired young pregnant woman, unable to carry her crying child because, her doctor had said, she might easily suffer a miscarriage. Recently, President Kimball received a letter from that then-unborn baby, who had completed a mission in Germany.
President Kimball, President Hinckley noted, lives as an example of service in the spirit of the Golden Rule, a spirit all should remember at this time of year.
“God bless us during this glad season with an increase of love, with a decrease of selfishness, with an enlarged sense of service, and a greater desire to be helpful to those in distress.”
Elder Faust recalled the most memorable Christmas of his childhood, a holiday without presents during the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The family celebration took place at his grandparents’ home in rural Utah. The weather was suitably frosty, the home was warm and cozy, there was delicious food from the farm, but there was almost nothing under the Christmas tree.
“As I look back on that special Christmas over a lifetime, the most memorable part was that we did not think about presents,” he recalled.
“There was the gift of boundless love. We knew God loved us. We all loved each other. We did not miss the presents because we had this glorious gift. It made me feel so wonderful and secure to belong and to be part of all that went on.”
That kind of love, Elder Faust said, can be given to the Savior as a gift at Christmas time, or any time, by extending it to others. This may be accomplished through unheralded personal service and through sharing the products of our talents. “This Christmas and every Christmas will be richer by sharing and enjoying gifts that cannot be held, but only felt.”
Music was furnished by the Tabernacle Choir and Lucie Didier, wife of Elder Charles Didier of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Ardeth Kapp read Luke 2:1–14.