“First Presidency Emphasizes Following Christ’s Example,” Ensign, Feb. 2005, 74
During the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional in December 2004, members of the First Presidency taught and testified of the Savior’s significance and encouraged members to make the Lord’s life their example.
“God be thanked for the gift of His glorious Son, the only perfect man ever to walk the earth,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “There is none to excel Him. There is none to compare with Him. He is the great example for all of us, our revered teacher and, most importantly, our Redeemer.”
Members of the Church tuned in to the annual devotional by satellite, Internet, television, and radio to watch or listen as the First Presidency, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square focused on the Savior.
“Our Conference Center here in Salt Lake City is filled with people, and our image, as we speak, travels … across the earth—to lands of winter and lands of summer,” President Hinckley said. “We are all together as one great family to sing and speak of the joys of Christmas.”
President Hinckley taught of the Savior’s mortal life from beginning to end, from birth to Atonement. “Let us never forget as we celebrate Christmas with song and story, with gifts and mundane baubles, the greater message that Jesus Christ, the Firstborn of the Father, came into the world that ‘the world through him might be saved’ (John 3:17).
“Let us remember always that through His infinite Atonement salvation will come to all, and the opportunity for exaltation will be afforded those who walk in obedience to His commandments.”
President Hinckley also testified of the Savior’s continued ministry after His death and in years to come. “He has come again to usher in a dispensation. And He will come yet again in clouds of glory to usher in a millennium and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
The President of the Church also honored the Prophet Joseph Smith, born 199 years ago. President Hinckley added his testimony to that of the dispensation’s first prophet regarding the Savior, saying: “He lives, resplendent, magnificent, the wondrous Lord Immanuel. He lives, the Eternal Son of the Ever Living Father. He lives, the Great Creator, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Savior of the New, the Wondrous Light in a dark and troubled world. He lives to bless us, to teach us, to heal us, to touch our troubled hearts, to give substance to our greatest dreams, to assure the immortality of our souls.”
In His Footsteps
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, explained that “to catch the real meaning of the Spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the Spirit of Christ.”
He testified: “With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment, a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. … Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world.
“At this blessed season of the year, as we follow in the Savior’s footsteps, we too will have an opportunity to bless the lives of others.”
President Monson taught: “There is no better time than now … for us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ.”
Agents of God
President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, related the story of a man who had no money to buy his father a Christmas gift during the Great Depression, so he gave him a diary in which he had recorded a good deed he had done every day that year.
“We are each the agents of our Father in Heaven to do Christlike deeds for [the] Father’s children, even as [the Savior] offered to do in the grand premortal council when He said, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Abr. 3:27). ‘Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever’ (Moses 4:2).”