First Presidency expresses gratitude to the Savior in Christmas devotional

Written by Madison Borden

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broadcasted its annual Christmas Devotional at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6.

The meeting lasted one hour and was conducted by President Henry B. Eyring, of the First Presidency.

Speakers included Elder L. Whitney Clayton, of the Presidency of the Seventy; Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President; Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve; and ended with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the                                      First Presidency.

“We each face moments in our lives that the great joy that the angel promised can seem elusive and distant,” Elder Clayton said. “All of us are subject to the frailties and hardships of life. Many face great difficulty meeting the demands of life and the physical and emotional toll it can bring. Yet, despite life’s hardships, the Lord’s message to each of us is the same today as it was to the shepherds keeping watch 2,000 years ago — fear not. Because of the Savior, fear will never triumph.”

The first Christmas Devotional was given by the First Presidency of the Church in 2009 in the Conference Center, located at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kennan Vorwaller, a junior studying communication, said she enjoyed listening to the General Authorities’ varying perspectives on the         Christmas season.

“Within this church, and life in general, there are so many opportunities to be generous,” Vorwaller said. “We should remember to be grateful for what we have and be generous to others.”

Vorwaller said she believes the focus of the holiday should be on love and service.

“The commercial side of Christmas isn’t evil, but it’s definitely not as important as the spiritual side,” Vorwaller said. “Some people don’t have the means or ability to have the type of Christmas you may be having, so you can always give back and make their holiday great as well.”

Dallin Gleed, a junior studying health science, said students can serve others in simple ways, like making meals for others and Christmas caroling.

“Serving one another and doing things from the heart is what’s important during Christmas,” Gleed said.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra performed various hymns and Christmas songs during the devotional, including “For Unto Us A Child Is Given”, “Noe, Noe”, “In the Bleak Midwinter”, “Carol Of the Bells” and “Silent Night.”

David Stutz, a senior studying mechanical engineering, said he believes the best way to express Christmas spirit is through singing Christmas songs and other uplifting music.

“I think singing and expressing your gratitude through song can help show the spirit of Christ throughout the Christmas season,” Stutz said. “I love music and know it has power to bring joy into people’s lives.”

President Uchtdorf said that during the Christmas season, people are often caught up in the pressures that come from holiday shopping and expectations, but he also said it is the time of year people strive to evaluate and improve themselves.

“We seek ways to be more helpful and cheerful,” President Uchtdorf said. “We are prompted to spend a little more time with those we love, we become more aware of those in need and, often, we extend ourselves more generously to aid them. All of this is our imperfect but heartfelt effort to echo the generosity of our Savior whose birth we seek to honor.”

President Uchtdorf said it is important to give gratitude to the Savior during the holidays season.

“I invite each one of us to find, during this Christmas season, a moment in the quiet of our souls to acknowledge and offer heart-felt gratitude to the generous one,” President Uchtdorf said. “Let us consider the compassionate, beloved and boundless mercy of our Father in Heaven.”

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