“Hope in Christ Marks First Presidency Yule Program,” Ensign, Feb. 1990, 75
“President Benson loves Christmas,” said President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, who conducted the annual First Presidency Christmas devotional, “and he would have me extend to all his love and best wishes at this Christmas season.”
Christmas music filled the annual First Presidency Christmas devotional, broadcast from Temple Square in Salt Lake City on December 3. The Tabernacle Choir, at times joined by the congregation, sang several Christmas songs, and President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, shared a Christmas message.
“The story of the birth of Jesus is a wondrous story,” said President Hinckley. “It is matchless in its simplicity and beauty—it is the wellspring of Christian faith. More acts of kindness have been done in his name and more words of forgiveness spoken with his love than any other in the entire history of mankind. He is the author of our salvation. He is the source of the good news of the gospel. He is our hope in our season of desperation, our guide in the wilderness of life through which we walk, our source of comfort and consolation in seasons of distress, and our assurance of the eternity of the soul of man.”
Referring to recent events in Eastern Europe, President Hinckley said, “The Spirit of Christ is brooding over the whole earth. We have witnessed miracles undreamed of only a short time ago. Like a glorious sunburst through dark clouds, there is emerging freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression.
“This is a season of rejoicing,” he continued, “a season of peace, a season of love that is felt anew around much of this weary world. It is a season when we like to hear of kind deeds and are motivated to perform them.”
President Hinckley then told the story of author Taylor Caldwell who, as a young single mother with a six-year-old daughter, returned a valuable umbrella that she had found on a bus. She refused an offered reward, but a few weeks later, the owner of the umbrella sent gifts, turning an otherwise desperate Christmas into one of joy.
“In this spirit of Christmas,” said President Hinckley, “let us resolve to do a little more, to open our purses along with our hearts to help those in need, to reach out to the lonely and distressed, and to comfort those who walk in sorrow.”
President Hinckley then bore his testimony of Christ: “He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. This is the testimony last of all which we give of him, that he lives. Yes, he lives. The everlasting Son of the living God lives in the hearts of men and women who open their souls with generosity and love. He is our Redeemer and our Savior.”
Jerold D. Ottley and Donald Ripplinger conducted the Tabernacle Choir during the program, and the choir was accompanied by organists Robert Cundick and John Longhurst. The devotional was carried live over the Church satellite network to hundreds of meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.