Sunday, December 17, 2017

President Thomas S. Monson on Christmas getting and giving

President Thomas S. Monson (b. August 21, 1927) was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency with Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley until becoming Church president in 2008.
"'What did you get for Christmas?' This is the universal question among children for days following that most celebrated holiday of the year. A small girl might reply, 'I received a doll, a new dress, and a fun game.' A boy might respond, 'I received a pocketknife, a train, and a truck with lights.' Newly acquired possessions are displayed and admired as Christmas day dawns, then departs.
"The gifts so acquired are fleeting. Dolls break, dresses wear out, and fun games become boring. Pocketknives are lost, trains do nothing but go in circles, and trucks are abandoned when the batteries that power them dim and die.
"If we change but one word in our Christmas question, the outcome is vastly different. 'What did you give for Christmas?' prompts stimulating thought, causes tender feelings to well up, and memory's fires to glow ever brighter.
"Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable and it becomes the Spirit of Christ."
- Thomas S. Monson, "Christmas Gifts, Christmas Blessings," Ensign, Dec. 1995, p. 2
Click here to read the full article

President Monson delivered many Christmas messages over the years he served as a member of the First Presidency. The importance of the spirit of giving is a theme that was addressed on a number of occasions. He truly spoke from the heart, as one who understands that spirit and dedicated his life to unselfish service to others, both in public and in private.

Some of the benefits of the spirit of giving described by President Monson are ones we might not have thought of at first: forgiveness of others, greater obedience, and closeness to friends.

Truly, to be "more interested in people than things" is a great key to the Christian life of discipleship. At Christmas, and throughout the year, we should seek this aspect of the "Spirit of Christ" in our lives, and we will be blessed as we do.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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