True Gifts"We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves—giving of the riches of the heart and mind—and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store.
"Of course, among the greatest of gifts is the gift of love....
"Some, like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens's A Christmas Carol, have a hard time loving anyone, even themselves, because of their selfishness. Love seeks to give rather than to get. Charity towards and compassion for others is a way to overcome too much self-love" (James E. Faust, "A Christmas with No Presents," Ensign, Dec 2001, 2–6).
The Christmas Spirit"Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. During His earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. To us He has said, 'Come, follow me.'
"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always. We shall learn to forget ourselves. We shall turn our thoughts to the greater benefit of others" (Thomas S. Monson, "In Search of the Christmas Spirit," Ensign, Dec 1987, 3).
The Christmas Child"There is a magic in Christmas. Hearts are opened to a new measure of kindness. Love speaks with increased power. Tensions are eased...
"Of all things of heaven and earth of which we bear testimony, none is so important as our witness that Jesus, the Christmas child, condescended to come to earth from the realms of His Eternal Father, here to work among men as healer and teacher, our Great Exemplar. And further, and most important, He suffered on Calvary's cross as an atoning sacrifice for all mankind.
"At this time of Christmas, this season when gifts are given, let us not forget that God gave His Son, and His Son gave His life, that each of us might have the gift of eternal life" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Son of God," Ensign, Dec 1992, 2).
Condescension of God"The Savior's Godly status was preserved through His birth. His infinite and eternal nature gave Him the capacity to atone for the sins of all mankind and the power to rise from the grave and make possible a resurrection for every person who had or would live on the earth....
"The birth of Jesus Christ was extraordinary in that it involved the condescension of both the Father and the Son—two eternal beings.... The Father condescended in sending His Son; the Savior condescended in taking upon Himself a mortal body and offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Is it any wonder that angels were assigned to declare the Savior's birth?" (Merrill J. Bateman, "A Season for Angels," Ensign, Dec 2007, 10–15).
The Real Christmas"The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master....
"If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments" (Howard W. Hunter, "The Real Christmas," Ensign, Dec 2005, 22–25).
Gifts of Christmas"It is easy to give to our own, those whom we love. Their gladness becomes our joy. We are not quite so ready to give to others, even if they are in need, for their happiness does not seem so necessary to our happiness. It appears yet more difficult to give to the Lord, for we are prone to believe that he must give and ask nothing in return.
"We have foolishly reversed the proper order. Our first gift at Christmas should be to the Lord; next to the friend or stranger by our gate; then, surcharged with the effulgence from such giving, we would enhance the value of our gifts to our very own. A selfish gift leaves a scar upon the soul, and it is but half a gift" (John A. Widtsoe, "The Gifts of Christmas," Ensign, Dec 1972, 4).
Babe of Bethlehem"Part of the purpose for telling the story of Christmas is to remind us that Christmas doesn't come from a store. Indeed, however delightful we feel about it, even as children, each year it 'means a little bit more.' And no matter how many times we read the biblical account of that evening in Bethlehem, we always come away with a thought—or two—we haven’t had before....
"I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that sacred, unadorned child of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why... the giving of gifts is so appropriate" (Jeffrey R. Holland, "Without Ribbons and Bows," New Era, Dec 1994, 4).
God's Gift"Christmas gifts? There were none at that time. The Wise Men came later with their offerings.
"But God now gave His gift to the world—that of His Only Begotten Son. And this divine Son by His very birth on earth gave Himself as the greatest Gift of all time.
"He would provide the plan for our salvation. He would give His life that we might rise from the grave and have a happy life in the eternities, forever. Who could give more?
"What a gift this was! Think what it means to us! We can learn patience, devotion, and faithfulness such as Mary had. And like her Son we can follow the true gospel principles, being in the world but not of the world" (Mark E. Petersen, "His Gift to the World," New Era, Dec 2002, 8).
Who Needs Christmas?"So who needs Christmas? We do! All of us! Because Christmas can bring us closer to the Savior, and he is the only source of lasting joy....
"We need Christmas because it helps us to be better people, not only in December but in January, June, and November.
"Because we need Christmas we had better understand what it is and what it isn't. Gifts, holly, mistletoe, and red-nosed reindeer are fun as traditions, but they are not what Christmas is really all about. Christmas pertains to that glorious moment when the Son of our Father joined his divinity to our imperfect humanity" ("Hugh W. Pinnock, Who Needs Christmas?," New Era, Dec 1987, 4).
Come and See"The shepherds were invited to come and see. They saw. They trembled. They testified. They rejoiced. They saw Him wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, the Prince of Peace....
"At this Christmas season I extend to you the gift of determination to come and see...
"A young man in deep trouble and despair said to me recently, 'It's all right for others to have a merry Christmas, but not me. It's no use. It's too late.'
"...We can stay away and complain. We can stay away and nurse our sorrows. We can stay away and pity ourselves. We can stay away and find fault. We can stay away and become bitter.
"Or we can come and see! We can come and see and know!" ("Marvin J. Ashton, Come and See,," New Era, Dec 1989, 4).