Saturday, December 22, 2018

President Gordon B. Hinckley on finding a quiet time for Christmas gratitude

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
"What a glorious season is this time of Christmas. Hearts are softened. Voices are raised in worship. Kindness and mercy are reenthroned as elements in our lives. There is an accelerated reaching out to those in distress. There is an aura of peace that comes into our homes. There is a measure of love that is not felt to the same extent at any other time of the year....
"For each of you may this be a merry Christmas. But more importantly, I wish for each of you a time, perhaps only an hour, spent in silent meditation and quiet reflection on the wonder and the majesty of this, the Son of God. Our joy at this season is because He came into the world. The peace that comes from Him, His infinite love which each of us may feel, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that which He freely gave us at so great a cost to Himself—these are of the true essence of Christmas."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas,” First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 4, 1994
Click here to read a report of the devotional
Click here to read a later reprint of the message

President Hinckley had many opportunities to share his feelings about the Christmas season as he spoke in First Presidency Christmas Devotionals through many years, first as a counselor and then as Church President. His messages were often personal and poignant as he reflected on his life of worship and service. In this example, he recognized the best the Christmas season has to offer as we all feel our hearts softened and attitudes changed, blessed by a sense of love that is not felt in the same way at any other time of the year.

This is such important counsel. In the midst of the rush of the season, it is critical that we take at least a few minutes of personal time to spend "in silent meditation and quiet reflection" on the true meaning of the season and the blessings that come to us because He came to the world. Truly our joy and peace in the season will grow as we acknowledge Him whose birth and life bring so many blessings to us. The "true essence of Christmas" is that "overwhelming sense of gratitude" for all He gave to us so freely.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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