Monday, December 25, 2017

President Thomas S. Monson on the enduring gifts from God

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.
"For a few moments, may we set aside the catalogs of Christmas, with their gifts of exotic description. Let's even turn from the flowers for Mother, the special tie for Father, the cute doll, the train that whistles, the long-awaited bicycle—even the 'Star Trek' books and videos—and direct our thoughts to those God-given gifts that endure. I have chosen from a long list just four:
"First, the gift of birth. It has been universally bestowed on each of us. Ours was the divine privilege to depart our heavenly home to tabernacle in the flesh and to demonstrate by our lives our worthiness and qualifications to one day return to Him, precious loved ones, and a kingdom called celestial....
"Second, the gift of peace. In the raucous world in which we live, the din of traffic, the blaring commercials of the media, and the sheer demands placed on our time—to say nothing of the problems of the world—cause headache, inflict pain, and sap our strength to cope.... He who was burdened with sorrow and acquainted with grief speaks to every troubled heart and bestows the gift of peace.... The passport to peace is the practice of prayer. The feelings of the heart, humbly expressed rather than a mere recitation of words, provide the peace we seek....
"Third, the gift of love. 'Master, which is the great commandment in the law?' queried the lawyer who spoke to Jesus. Came the prompt reply: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
"'This is the first and great commandment.
"'And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' (Matt. 22:36-39) ...
"Fourth, the gift of life—even immortality. Our Heavenly Father's plan contains the ultimate expressions of true love. All that we hold dear, even our families, our friends, our joy, our knowledge, our testimonies, would vanish were it not for our Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Among the most cherished thoughts and writings in this world is the divine statement of truth: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' (John 3:16)"
- Thomas S. Monson, "Gifts," General Conference April 1993
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Monson encourages us, as have many others, to be sure to reserve some of the time during the Christmas season to remember the gifts of heaven on our behalf:

President Monson calls them "gifts that endure"—and they are the only ones that don't wear out or become outdated as time goes by. No matter who we are, no matter what the situation of life we find ourselves in this year—truly, we should feel overwhelming gratitude for all we have if we understand these gifts from our loving Father and his Son.

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

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