Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thomas S. Monson on the Christmas spirit of the Savior's loving service

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.
"With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment—a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child was to become the King of kings and Lord of lords, the promised Messiah—Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
"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....
"As we lift our eyes heavenward and then remember to look outward into the lives of others, as we remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive, we, during this Christmas season, will come to see a bright, particular star that will guide us to our precious opportunity."
- Thomas S. Monson, "In Search of the Christmas Spirit," Ensign, Dec 1987, p. 3
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President Monson speaks of "a great endowment" that emerged with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. That endowment is the gift to the world that He represented, the gift given by both Himself and by His Father. It's a gift that includes the "glorious gospel" of teachings, but equally important, the example of His ministry of love, which He invites us to learn and follow.

We gain the Christmas Spirit as we learn to follow the Christ's example of true charity, manifest in forgetting ourselves and turning instead "to the greater benefit of others." As we follow His example and express that spirit, Christmas comes alive for us.

I like this suggestion. As we begin to emulate the Savior's example of perfect love, we will be guided in our efforts; divine help will appear to show us the way to serve, like a guiding star from the heavens..

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

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