First Presidency Hosts Annual Christmas Devotional
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“First Presidency Hosts Annual Christmas Devotional,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 74–75

First Presidency Hosts Annual Christmas Devotional

“What a glorious thing it is that, at least at this time of year, hearts of men and women across the world turn in adoration to the Son of God,” President Gordon B. Hinckley said to the audience assembled in the Conference Center and in stake centers on 2 December for the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

Joined by his counselors in the First Presidency—President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust—President Hinckley bore testimony of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

“Through Him has come—and now comes again—the wondrous glory of His plan of salvation and exaltation. He is the Lord Omnipotent, Son of the Almighty, who lives and reigns to guide this work,” said President Hinckley.

“Now the world is at war. Our very civilization is in peril. But above and beyond all of the conflict, all of the quarreling, all of the sound and fury of battle, He is our refuge, our Rock of Ages, our source of peace, comfort, and certain assurance concerning the immortality of the human soul.

“Praise be to the Almighty and to His Only Begotten Son, the Redeemer of all mankind. Every one of us is better, our lives are richer, our faith is more certain because of Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God, our Redeemer and our King, whose birth in Bethlehem of Judea we honor at this time.

“We are a little kinder, a little more thoughtful, a little more neighborly, much richer in spirit because of Him.”

President Hinckley asked that each of us do more to follow the Savior’s example of love and service.

“Our prayer at this wondrous season of Christmas is that we will look inward to test our own hearts and look outward for an opportunity to reach down and lift someone who is in need. It will not be difficult to find someone.

“Brothers and sisters, boys and girls, we can all be a little kinder, a little more patient, a little more helpful. We can all reach out to the very many who are in distress for any number of reasons. We can replace anger with love. We can put selfishness out of our lives. We can get on our knees and pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, and then stand on our feet and reach out to bless the destitute, the poor, the oppressed, and those in trouble. …

“May each of you have some selfless, long-to-be-remembered experience in bringing blessings to others.”

President Monson reflected on the challenges and blessings that exist in the world at this time. “Since last we met for the traditional Christmas devotional, much has happened in the world,” he said. “The September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, and the further threat of terrorism, have obscured for now that hoped-for blessing of peace on earth.

“The price of freedom has ever been high. Our prayers go out to those whose families feel the absence of loved ones and who experience daily a concern for their well-being. We unite in an earnest prayer to our Father in Heaven that a pattern for peace may be found and that good will toward men may be our divinely bestowed blessing.”

President Monson added to President Hinckley’s petition that we recommit to living a Christlike life. “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart—and our neighbors as ourselves.”

President Faust spoke of the importance of Christmas traditions. “One reason that Christmas is so meaningful is because year after year we follow traditions that help us bond as families. … In keeping Christmas traditions, we bind ourselves to the past, present, and future.”

At the center of each of our Christmas traditions should be the life of Jesus Christ, said President Faust. “As we think of the happiness of Christmases past and the joy of this Christmas, may we savor and perpetuate the Christmas traditions which express our endearment and love to each other. The greatest tradition, of course, is also the very reason we celebrate Christmas. The ‘good tidings of great joy’ must ‘be to all people’ (see Luke 2:10). All of our individual traditions should point to this greatest of all traditions.”

“May each of you have some selfless, long-to-be-remembered experience in bringing blessings to others,” President Hinckley said during the devotional. Presidents Monson and Faust (seated) also spoke. (Photo by John Luke.)