“First Presidency Encourages Members to Emulate Christ and His Teachings,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 72–73
In messages to members worldwide in the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional, the First Presidency encouraged all to let Christ’s teachings and the spirit of Christmas spread through their thoughts and actions. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square also performed in the December 4, 2005, devotional, which was broadcast from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
In his message, President Gordon B. Hinckley reminded Church members of the promises he made about the spiritual strength that will come into the lives of those who read the Book of Mormon before the year’s end.
“It is probable that more people are presently reading the book than at any other time in the history of the Church,” he said. “I thank each of you, and I know you’ve been blessed.”
Reading excerpts from the book, he shared his testimony of the Book of Mormon as a powerful witness of the divinity and reality of the Savior.
“Suffice it to say that this wonderful and remarkable book is truly another witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, come forth to all the world bearing witness of Him,” he said.
“At the Christmas season let us ponder these things,” President Hinckley said. “Let us reflect upon them. Let us pray concerning them. Let us emulate in our own lives the great and profound teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as they are set forth in the Bible, but also as they are set forth in this companion testament of the New World.”
In words of hope and cheer, President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, reflected on the spirit of Christmas.
“This joyful season brings to each of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree in which we have turned our minds, our feelings, and our actions to the spirit of Christmas,” he said. “This is a time of remembering. It is a time for families. It is a time for gratitude.”
President Monson asked that Church members focus more on giving than receiving during the Christmas season. “‘What did you give for Christmas?’ prompts stimulating thought, causes tender feelings to well up and memory’s fires to glow ever brighter,” he said.
“Is gratitude part of our lives?” he asked. “Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit.”
“Why does peace come closer to reality at this season than at any other?” President Monson asked. “Why is it that more friends are remembered and more enemies forgiven at the Christmas season than at any other time? Why is it that more acts of kindness and service and generosity take place? It is the Christmas spirit.”
Charity is the pure love of Christ, President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, declared in his Christmas message.
He recounted the story of an impoverished family in Mexico in 1941. A widowed mother of nine children struggled to provide for them. Neighbors gave of their time and means to provide something special for the children at Christmas.
“The pure love of Christ goes beyond caring for your own,” he said. “Those who recently contributed to the Church Humanitarian Aid fund to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by hurricanes and earthquakes have truly been manifesting the pure love of Christ.”
President Faust recalled a former business partner of another faith who gave of his means generously to help those in need each Christmas and Thanksgiving. He said that this man searched out the needy and filled those needs, exemplifying pure charity.
“When we see a need, we should fill it promptly,” he said. “We should ever be mindful that it was the Savior who gave the greatest gift of all in offering Himself as the Redeemer through the Atonement.”