From the Church

Highlights from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional


In case you missed it, here is the First Presidency Christmas Devotional as well as recaps and highlights from all of the wonderful talks!

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2015 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional

Elder L. Whitney Clayton

The heavenly charge given to shepherds abiding in a field to ‘Fear not,’ is one applied to us today, Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy taught during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on December 6.

“We gather tonight because of our shared love for Christmas and the Christmas season,” Elder Clayton said. “This season has a divine ability to bring us together as families, friends, and communities.”

He continued, “As a parent, and now as a grandparent, I have been reminded of the magic of Christmas as I have watched my children, and now their children, celebrate the Savior’s birth and enjoy one another’s company as our family gathers together.”

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Sister Linda K. Burton

During the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on Sunday, December 6, Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, shared two personal Christmas memories in hopes that individuals could “see the reason why I have hope in the Savior, in ‘God [our Eternal Father who] so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son’ (John 3:16), and in the Father’s perfect and glorious plan of happiness.”

The first Christmas memory Sister Burton shared involved being a homesick 14-year-old living in New Zealand as her father served there as mission president. Sister Burton said as an “immature teenager,” she missed the familiar sights, sounds, and celebrations of Christmas, including cousins, aunts, uncles, and other family she knew would be gathering for festivities in Salt Lake City.

On Christmas Eve 1966, however, her heart changed when her father received a phone call that his father, her Grandpa Kjar, had suffered a major stroke and was in the hospital. Although shaken, her father bore testimony of the Father’s plan and his faith in the Savior’s vital role in it. “His testimony touched my aching heart,” Sister Burton recalled.

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Elder David A. Bednar

In his message Sunday evening, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles highlighted the important additional details the Book of Mormon gives of the Savior’s birth.

As he began his remarks during the annual First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, Elder Bednar invited individuals to not only listen to his words, but to “visualize yourself in these events,” he said. “I pray the Holy Ghost will help you liken these scriptures to you and your family (1 Nephi 19:23) and fill your hearts with the true spirit of Christmas.”

In relating the account of Samuel the Lamanite, who preached repentance and prophesied of Christ, Elder Bednar asked members of the congregation to imagine themselves as 10 years old, listening to a prophet foretell future events.

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President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In his message during the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke on the gifts from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

One of the best parts about the Christmas season is its music, especially that performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, President Uchtdorf said December 6. Previous to his address, the choir performed “Carol of the Bells,” which he called, “one of the most beautiful Christmas melodies ever written.”

“Originally, it wasn’t a Christmas carol at all,” President Uchtdorf explained. “It was based on a centuries-old Ukrainian folk song known as ‘Shchedryk,’ often translated as ‘The Generous One.’” This song, which is about a swallow that flies into a home and foretells good fortune in the next year, was sung by Ukrainian families at the beginning of a new year.

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