“Christmas Devotional Focuses on the Savior,” Ensign, Feb. 1994, 74
The life of the Savior was celebrated through word and music at the December 5 First Presidency Christmas Devotional.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, gave the main address at the annual holiday gathering, held on Temple Square in the Tabernacle.
President Hinckley read scriptures about the birth, life, and ministry of the Lord, with Tabernacle organist John Longhurst providing background accompaniment.
“The words I read have been chosen from His entire ministry,” President Hinckley explained. “For in celebrating His birth, we also remember His life and His atoning sacrifice for each of us. What He said, though familiar to all of you, and though it be only a sampling of His teachings, I feel will be worth repeating on this sacred occasion.”
President Hinckley shared scriptures from 3 Nephi 1 and Luke 2 about the birth of the Savior. He then moved on to the baptism and ministry of Christ, citing scriptures from Matthew 3, 5, and 11; Luke 15; and John 4, 7, 11, 13, and 14. President Hinckley concluded by reading of the Atonement and Crucifixion, using scriptures from John 19, 3 Nephi 11, Isaiah 53 and Doctrine and Covenants 19 and 76.
“Glory and honor be to Him forever who is our Teacher, our Master, our Friend, and the Savior of all mankind,” he concluded. “May this be a Christmas of love and peace for each of you, and for all the world.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve also spoke at the devotional. His remarks included these stanzas from a poem about the Savior:
What must be done to make us clean,
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.
He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word.
That is the never-ending gift
That came that Christmas day
When Mary first held close her son
And shepherds came to pray.
(In Boyd K. Packer, A Christmas Parable, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993)
“God grant that we might be, in the Christmas season, that which the scriptures require us to be, even as little children,” Elder Packer concluded, “and worship him who is our Savior and Redeemer.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed several numbers during the devotional, which was broadcast over the Church’s satellite television network to more than three thousand locations throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the West Indies.