The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following 2012 Christmas message:
The true joy of Christmas comes when we focus on Jesus Christ, said President Thomas S. Monson, during the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, 2 December 2012.
“It is easy,” said President Monson, “to get caught up in the pressure of the season and perhaps lose the very spirit in our lives that we’re trying to gain.
“The real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts,” explained President Monson. “We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season.”
“Let us make Christmas real,” President Monson taught. “Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting.”
Reflecting on one special Christmas, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, told how he, along with others, constructed a treasure chest for his wife, Kathleen.
On the lid of the wooden box is the family monogram, and on the front panels are the initials “H” and “K” for Henry and Kathleen. Each Christmas since the chest was first under the tree, “seeing the box has filled our minds and hearts with love for each other and for the Savior’s sacrifice that makes eternal families possible.”
The treasure chest is now a box for family memories such as family pictures and Christmas music and sits near an old piano in the Eyring living room.
“From time to time,” said President Eyring, “I still see and thank the people who helped me create that box. I feel the joy we shared in creating a gift of love for a family and a token of the love we shared for the Savior.”
Watching children’s excited faces when they open a wrapped gift that is just for them is one of the great joys of Christmas remarked President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the Church’s First Presidency.
“As we get older,” said President Uchtdorf, “our ability to receive gifts with the same enthusiasm and grace seems to diminish. Sometimes people even get to the point where they can’t receive a gift or, for that matter, even a compliment without embarrassment or feelings of indebtedness.
“Every gift that is offered to usespecially a gift that comes from the heartis an opportunity to build or strengthen our bonds of love. When we are good and grateful receivers, we open a door to deepen our relationship with the giver of the gift.”
Following the devotional the First Presidency released the annual Christmas message to the public.
The spirit of Christmas creates in our hearts a desire to give joy to others and to serve them. At this time of year we feel a spirit of giving and of gratitude for what we have been given. The celebration of Christmas helps us keep our promise to always remember the Savior and His gifts to us and, in turn, to serve others.
Each act of kindness to anyone becomes a kindness to the Savior because He loves all of Heavenly Father’s children. And because that brings joy to Him, it also brings joy to His Father, to whom we owe thanks beyond measure.
Jesus Christ taught us that there is a way to give an even more priceless and lasting gift. He said, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). With all the kindnesses we give for Him, the greatest we can offer is to point those we love and serve toward Him, the only source of eternal life.
We bear witness of the living reality of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May the peace and joy that come through Him be present in the lives and hearts of God’s children throughout the world this Christmas season.