Tuesday, December 4, 2012

LDS 2012 Christmas Devotional: President Thomas S. Monson Says The Real Joy Of Christmas Is Focusing On The Savior

On December 2nd, 2012, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held their annual Christmas Devotional in Salt Lake City, where the First Presidency dispenses seasonal counsel to the world. Headlining the event was President Thomas S. Monson, who said that the real joy of Christmas is found from making the Savior Jesus Christ the focus of the season, noting “We can keep Him in our thoughts and in our lives as we go about the work He would have us perform here on earth.” President Monson declared that true love is a reflection of the Savior’s love, explaining that in December of each year we call it the Christmas spirit. You can hear it. You can see it. You can feel it. LDS Church News has a further account of President Monson's address; a YouTube video playlist of the entire devotional is embedded below. To get to President Monson's address, click on Playlist in the lower left hand corner, then scroll over to his video using the right arrow (there are seven videos total):

Or if you prefer, you can watch or listen at the dedicated page on the LDS website.

President Henry B. Eyring said that at Christmas, Latter-day Saints celebrate our Heavenly Father’s perfect gift of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, explaining “In token of this greatest of gifts, the Christmas season becomes for most of us a time of finding joy in giving to others. You and I have learned from experience how challenging that can be.” President Eyring also explained that success in giving joy to others usually requires help from others, and joining our efforts with the generosity of other people both spreads the joy and makes it more lasting.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke not only of the value of giving generously, but receiving graciously. “When we are good and grateful receivers, we open a door to deepen our relationship with the giver of the gift,” he said. “But when we fail to appreciate or even reject a gift, we not only hurt those who extend themselves to us, but in some way, we harm ourselves as well.”

President Uchtdorf said the Savior is the perfect example not only of generous giving but also of gracious receiving. “My brothers and sisters, what kind of receivers are we? Do we, like the Savior, recognize gifts as expressions of love? … I hope that this Christmas and every day of the year we will consider, in particular, the many gifts we have been given by our loving Heavenly Father. I hope we will receive these gifts with the wonder, thankfulness and excitement of a child.”

This latter counsel is desperately needed and long overdue. I see so many people who behave like a bunch of snotty ingrates. If you get a tacky sweater for Christmas, don't complain to the giver. Give it to someone in need, after waiting a reasonably diplomatic interval. Then if the giver asks you what you did with the gift, you can tell the giver that you were so overcome with gratitude that you decided to pay it forward -- by giving it to someone with a greater need. More gratitude and less attitude.

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