First Presidency Celebrates Christmas Season

    “First Presidency Celebrates Christmas Season,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 75–76

    First Presidency Celebrates Christmas Season

    Jesus Christ’s “has been the grandest of all gifts,” emphasized President Gordon B. Hinckley at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional held in the Conference Center on 1 December 2002. “He is our King of kings. He is our Lord of lords. He is the Son of God incarnate.”

    The audience of more than 20,000 people joined other congregations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America who participated in the live broadcast through the Internet, local television stations, and the Church satellite system. Translated into 31 languages, the devotional was rebroadcast in Brazil, Europe, South Africa, Asia, and the Pacific a week later.

    “Tonight, all together, we speak many tongues, but our voices are as one as we pay homage to our King, the Lord Immanuel,” President Hinckley declared.

    Just as the star described by Matthew symbolizes Christmas, President Hinckley said, the ever-constant North Star is “as the God of heaven Himself, fixed and immovable, certain, sure, unchanging.”

    “I have reflected much on this,” stated President Hinckley. “The heavens tell … the vastness of the universe over which He presides. And yet His great concern is with His children … of whom we are a few who worship together tonight.”

    As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley declared, everything we do is “in His holy name and in tribute to Him,” and we pay “homage to Him by the goodness of our lives and the outreach of our service.”

    President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, urged listeners to “keep Christmas” by taking opportunities to serve. He learned that lesson as a boy when, after losing a drawing for a pony, he found Christmas joy by giving two nickels, which represented all he had, to a charity.

    President Monson asked: “Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people and to remember what other people have done for you, … to look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness? … Then you can keep Christmas!”

    “Christmas is many things,” said President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “It is a time when we have a joyful uplift. … It is a time to be our generous selves. It is a time when we push back for a short time our concerns and challenges and turn off unpleasantness.”

    President Faust closed by urging all to “take the time … to do the kind deed … [that] can mean so much to those who may need a little lift in their lives.”

    “People were anxious to come hear the prophet,” observed Sister Bonnie Allred, a Church-service missionary who ushered guests to their seats. Sam Castor from Provo, Utah, agreed. “Sometimes it seems there’s not much new to say about Christmas, but the Spirit was so sweet when President Hinckley talked about Jesus Christ.”

    Testimonies of the Savior; music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square; and evergreens, poinsettias, and lights filled the Conference Center during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. (Photograph by Keith Johnson, Church News.)

    “His has been the grandest of all gifts. He is our King of kings,” testified President Gordon B. Hinckley at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. (Photograph by Keith Johnson, Church News.)