The author lives in Utah, USA.
As a child, I considered Christmas time the happiest time of year. The music, the movies, and especially the prospect of what gifts I would receive from my wish list were all at the center of my thoughts. And yet, as the years came and went, I began to feel like something was missing. While Christmas was still full of wonder and magic, there was something much more important that I needed to remember.
Of course, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is something reiterated time and again. However, as I focused on the temporary delights of the season, the true significance of this was always pushed to the wayside. When the time came for me to leave home and go to college, it became more apparent that I needed to find out for myself where the true happiness of Christmas could be found. Why was the birth of one individual so important?
A familiar and often-quoted scripture helped me understand why, of all the gifts that have ever been given, Christ’s birth was the most significant: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Christmas is known as the time of giving in order to reflect this very act. Our Heavenly Father, by sending His Son into the world, gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive.
What does this gift mean for me and you? Ether 12:11 says, “in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way.” This “excellent way” is the gospel of Jesus Christ. In turn, it is through this gospel that we can all receive the truest happiness possible. The moment I began to recognize this amazing act of love for what it truly was, I found the joy in Christmas I had been missing for so long. What I lacked could not be wrapped or bought. Instead, it was something that was freely offered to me and could bring me blessings and happiness far beyond just the Christmas season.
The only thing left to do was find out how I could turn the Christmas season into one that was centered on the gift God gave to all of us. King Benjamin teaches that we are to “render all thanks and praise . . . to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you” (Mosiah 2:20). We all feel happy when we give a gift that brings joy to another! But we also feel sad when a gift we give goes unappreciated or becomes discarded. Wouldn’t God feel the same about the gift He has given us? He must feel the greatest amount of joy when we accept the gift of His Son by living His gospel, so that we can enjoy everlasting life! At the same time, when we ignore or reject that gift, He must feel great sadness on our behalf.
What I finally learned is that the greatest way to celebrate Christmas is to give to others, just as God and His Son have given us so much. Christ taught that when we serve others, we serve Him (see Matthew 25:40). When we do so, we bring happiness and show gratitude to God for the amazing gift He gave us. In turn, we ourselves get to experience a part of that same joy. And showing appreciation for the gifts we receive from those around us, even the smallest ones, helps share that happiness with others.
I still do enjoy the presents, the music, the decorations, and everything else that the Christmas season brings. But now I have found that the best gift of all was given to me in the beginning—that of Jesus Christ—and I am able to celebrate this time of year in a much more significant way.
Tyler has a master’s degree in English and served a mission in Peru. He enjoys reading, traveling, and writing and hopes to one day break into a career in writing.