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“Christmas is that rarest of seasons — when we see others with new eyes, when we open our hearts a little more to the beauty around us, and reach out to others with a little more kindness and compassion,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidencyof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional. Thousands of people gathered for the annual event in the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday, December 6, 2015. Many others watched the live broadcast on LDS.org, the Mormon Channel, BYUtv and in local meetinghouses.
“But we all know that too often the sublime spirit of Christmas can become overshadowed and even lost in the frantic pace and pressures of shopping, bills, and packed schedules,” said President Uchtdorf. “I invite each of us to find, sometime this Christmas season, a moment in the quiet of our souls to acknowledge and offer heartfelt gratitude to ‘The Generous One.’”
“As we shop for gifts — as we give and receive them — may we also take time to quietly contemplate the bountiful gifts God has showered upon us, His children,” counseled President Uchtdorf.
“We gather tonight because of our shared love for Christmas and the Christmas season,” saidElder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. “Christmas has a divine ability to bring us together as families, friends, and communities,” added Elder Clayton. “The transformative spirit of the Christmas season is rooted in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ to change our lives for the better.”
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency conducted the devotional. Music was provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. Songs performed by the choir and orchestra included “For unto Us a Child Is Born,” “Noe! Noe!,” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” “Carol of the Bells.” The congregation joined the Choir in singing the last verse of “Silent Night” as the concluding song.
Sister Linda K. Burton, general president of the Relief Society, shared Christmas memories about her family, including stories of when she was living in New Zealand as a teenager and her grandfather in Utah passed away. “Although I mourned his loss, I was blessed and comforted in my knowledge of the glorious plan of happiness,” said Sister Burton.
The second story she told was of when she was a young, married mother with four children and learned she had cancer. Sister Burton related, “Christmas was different that year. As much as I love everything about Christmas, the only things that seemed to matter were my eternal marriage, my family, and my faith in and testimony of my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the plan.”
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.”
“Many of our memorable and enduring Christmas traditions include different kinds of lights — lights on trees, lights in and on our homes, candles on our tables,” Elder Bednar continued. “May the beautiful lights of every holiday season remind us of Him who is the source of all light.”
Although the most familiar account of the Savior’s birth can be found in the second chapter of Luke in the New Testament, Elder Bednar provided a companion account from the Book of Mormon in which Samuel the Lamanite prophesied of the coming Christ.