Saturday, December 17, 2016

President James E. Faust on Christmas presents and Christmas gifts

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley from 1995 until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"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....
"There are so many problems facing us individually and collectively. Yet I have the simple faith that many, if not all, of them can be put into proper perspective by Paul's sublime message to the Galatians: 'Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me' (Gal. 2:20).
"The message of this season that is applicable throughout the year lies not in the receiving of earthly presents and treasures but in the forsaking of selfishness and greed and in going forward, seeking and enjoying the gifts of the Spirit, which Paul said are 'love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law' (Gal. 5:22-23)."
- James E. Faust, "A Christmas with No Presents," Ensign, December 2001, pp. 2-6
Click here to read the full talk

President Faust makes a distinction between presents—things we buy at the store to give each other; and gifts—parts of ourselves, from our hearts or minds. And gifts are much more valuable and lasting than presents:

There were two additional points President Faust made that are worth pondering. We can gain perspective to deal with our problems and challenges as we allow Christ to live within us, since He first loved us, and gave Himself for us. And then we should allow the Christmas spirit to direct us towards the giving of gifts, and seeking gifts, particularly the gifts of the Spirit. That's an aspect of Christmas we don't often consider.

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