First Presidency Christmas Devotional 2014

I really enjoyed watching the Christmas Devotional tonight. I always love the Christmas music conducted by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the focus on the savior. Though I did think it strange that President Monson and President Uchtdorf did not speak tonight, I still thought that the speakers covered a wonderful variety of topics and really helped the viewer remember the birth and atonement of Christ.

I especially liked Elder Maynes (of the 70) talk where he focused on how the Christmas story was truly a family story. He talked extensively about the character and virtues of Mary and Joseph as well as the savior. As a still relatively new husband with a small child, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the tender feelings that Mary and Joseph must have felt as they looked upon their child. Scholars hypothesize that Joseph must have died quite young in the life of the savior, because he is not prominently featured in the life of the Savior, but I am appreciative of his character and integrity. Just as Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of the Savior, I also believe that Joseph was chosen to be the earthly father of the savior.

Sister Oscarson spoke about how one of the greatest miracles of the Christmas story is the love that it reflects. She urged us to be generous with our time and money and to be more Christlike in our association with family and friends not in this Christmastime, but throughout the year. My wife and I are going later this week to visit my family in Israel, and so this advice was really relevant to me.

Elder Christofferson  spoke of the condescension of the savior.  He emphasized that Christ needed to come down to earth and experience the full range of the human experience in order to help us be lifted up. I loved his message that if we look to god in every thought, everything we suffer will also lead us to be better. Just as savior’s experiences were redemptive, so too will our experiences help us to redeem and lift one another.

Finally, President Eyring spoke of the light of Christ. I am excited to read this talk more thoroughly once it is in print. I especially liked that President Eyring emphasized that everyone can feel the light of Christ no matter what faith or religion one belongs to. I remembered instances in my life before my conversion, when I felt drawn closer to God and uplifted. Given that I am the only one in my family that is in the Church, it is often easy to forget about the role of the light of Christ and the role It plays witnessing truth to all. I am grateful that God truly loves all of us and bears witness of truth to each of us no matter who we are or where we are from.