I was able to go to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last Sunday (December 4th, 2011). During President Eyring’s talk, he introduced a series of video vignettes that the Church has made about the life of Jesus Christ. They shared the first one with us that evening, and I would like to share it here.
It was so interesting to me that they talked so much about Gifts. That these Videos were gifts from the First Presidency to the world. What neat idea. When we received the new Relief Society book, Daughters in my Kingdom, they said that it was a gift from the First Presidency as well.
President Uchtdorf’s talk was wonderful. He spoke about the time that he ruined Christmas as a young boy. He was in the room with the Christmas Tree and was looking at the way that the candle reflected through the shimmering front-room curtains and found out that curtains are flammable. His parents were able to come quickly and stamp out the flames. He thought for sure that he would receive a birch tree branch for Christmas (the item that bad children get, similar to the lump of coal in the stocking) but he found that he received presents and was still loved by his family. He did not really ruin Christmas.
It was a lovely story, and made me think of the fact that sometimes, we believe that because of our decisions and our individual actions and choices, that we have “messed everything up for good.” Not so. Never so. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39)”.
He went on to talk about gifts, saying that the Lord does not expect the gift of perfection from us right now. He stated, “The Lord does not expect us to move mountains, but He does require that we bring, as gifts, our best efforts to move ourselves, one foot in front of the other, walking in the ways He has prepared and taught.”
Finally, he said the following about the Savior’s Gifts to us, (and this was my favorite part) –
And what are the Savior’s gifts to those that are willing to bring those gifts to Him? This may be the most one-sided gift exchange in the history of the universe. The Savior’s gifts to us are breathtaking. Let us begin with Immortality. Because the Savior overcame death, all men and women, both the just and the unjust, will live forever. Then, Forgiveness. Even though our sins and imperfections be as scarlet, they can become white as snow, because of Him. He is our Savior. And finally, Eternal Life, the greatest gift of all. Because of the Atonement of Christ, not only are we guaranteed an infinite quantity of life, He offers the potential of an unimaginable quality of life as well. Some of His Divine gifts are reserved for that glorious future day when we return to His presence. But He extends many gifts and His Grace to us everyday. He promises to be with us, to come to us when we need comfort, to lift us when we stumble, to carry us, if needed, [to] mourn and rejoice with us. Everyday, he offers to take us by the hand and help transform ordinary life into extraordinary spiritual experiences.
Wow. It, to me, was one of those moments that filled my soul with profound gratitude and love.
One of President Uchtdorf’s closing statements was –
May we always remember that in the birth of that child, the Universe rejoiced.
You can watch the full devotional here.