Tuesday, December 25, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on remembering Christ at Christmas

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became president of that quorum on July 15, 2015. Following the death of President Monson, he was set apart as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"In homes throughout the modern world, stockings are still 'hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there' ('A Visit from St. Nicholas,' Clement Clarke Moore). But, oddly enough, one stocking seems to be missing. Perhaps it has never even been considered. I speak of a stocking for the Babe of Bethlehem. Of all people central to the Christmas scene, only His stocking seems to have been forgotten. It doesn’t seem quite right, inasmuch as it is His birthday that we are celebrating.
"Just as there was no room for the Christ child at the inn at the time of His birth, with so many people, there is no place for Him in their hearts. The world He came to save has been so filled with trivia that little room has been left for the Lord and His righteousness. Many people have made room for sports and recreation, trinkets and toys, but the Prince of Peace—the Savior of mankind—is often forgotten.
"At Christmastime we exchange gifts, but what have we done to show our appreciation to Him who created the entire earth with all of its beauty and abundance? How could we ignore Him who gave us life and all that sustains life? These priceless gifts come from Him. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could improve our ways—as a gift to Him at Christmastime? If His stocking has been empty in our minds, what could we now give?"
- Russell M. Nelson, "Gifts for an Empty Stocking," Combined Yale Wards Christmas Message, December 22, 1996; see Teachings of Russell M. Nelson pp. 54-55

President Nelson made an interesting suggestion in this Christmas message. It's so easy to forget the Savior in the midst of our holiday commotion, leaving "little room... for the Lord and His righteousness." Perhaps we need more visual reminders? When we hang our stockings in order to share gifts with one another, we could consider hanging a stocking for the Savior and ponder how we might offer gifts to Him.

The Savior's gifts to us are so abundant and continuous; how can we show appreciation to Him in return? The simple suggestion President Nelson makes is to find a way to "improve our ways" as an offering of appreciation. May we all follow this wise counsel and seek to be better disciples as we show our true gratitude to the Babe of Bethlehem.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15