Monday, December 24, 2018

President Thomas S. Monson on the light of the Christmas star

President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018) 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 and then became Church president in 2008. He led the Church for almost a decade until his passing in January 2018.
"Emerson counseled that rings and jewels are not gifts, but substitutes for gifts. The only real gift is a portion of oneself. (See 'Gifts,' by Ralph Waldo Emerson.)
"We remember that during the meridian of time a bright, particular star shone in the heavens. Wise men followed it and found the Christ child. Today wise men still look heavenward and again see a bright, particular star. It will guide you and me to our opportunities. The burden of the downtrodden will be lifted, the cry of the hungry stilled, the lonely heart comforted. And souls will be saved—yours, theirs, and mine.
"If we truly listen, we may hear that voice from far away say to us, as it spoke to another, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant.' (Matt. 25:21.)
"May we see that special star, may we hear that same salutation, is my humble prayer."
- Thomas S. Monson, "The Long Line of the Lonely," General Conference April 1981
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The quote by Emerson that President Monson mentions is a thought-provoking one. So often we give gifts that are "trinkets"—items that may be useful or attractive or desirable, but in reality have no lasting value. Present Monson suggests that perhaps better gifts are in service that is given to others, time that we might devote to help those in need.

Just as the light of the star of Bethlehem led wise men to the Savior where they were able to share their gifts, President Monson suggests a light from above will lead each of us to the place where we can best serve and bless those who need it most. Our responsibility is to "look heavenward" and then to be willing to follow the promptings that will lead us.

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

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