This is the text of the talk I gave yesterday as part of our congregation’s Christmas program. I thought I’d share.
The Spirit of Christmas is a marvelous thing. In the days of Christ’s birth Angels sang, Shepherds watched with care by night, Wise men adored. It was a time of wonders and miracles. A new star appeared in the sky. Half a world away, “at the going down of the sun, there was no darkness” (3 Nephi 1:15). A prophet was commanded to lift up his head and be of good cheer and a people of faith was spared.
One passage of scripture has often caught my attention as I have studied the glorious times that accompanied the Savior’s birth. In the Gospel of Luke we learn that His mother, Mary “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart”. (Luke 2:19)
She had the Son of God with her every day and yet she kept and pondered the miracles of His birth in her heart. We would do well to follow Mary’s example.
What might we keep and ponder in our hearts throughout the year?
I propose that we remember first and foremost the miracle of Christ’s life and death. That we remember that He lived for us and that He died for us and that through His infinite atonement, we can be made clean.
Second, I propose that we strive daily to model our actions after His; that we love one another; that we keep His commandments; that throughout the coming year, we keep in our hearts the generosity, the love, the joy, the gratitude, the kindness and the happiness that we feel during the Christmas season; that we love our God and we love our Neighbor and we love Ourselves.
Finally, I propose that we Be Believing, now and all year. Christmas is a time of faith. Christ has made many promises to us. If we Believe Christ, we will find that when we are challenged, there will be no darkness. We will not be alone. We will be able to lift up our heads and be of good cheer.
These are just a few of the many Christmas miracles we could keep in our hearts and ponder over the coming year. You and I have been blessed beyond measure through the birth of Jesus Christ.
President Howard W. Hunter made the following invitation many years ago, and I echo its sentiment now: “If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that His Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve Him and keep His commandments. He will take you by the hand and His promises will be kept.”(Hunter 1972)
In conclusion, I would like to share a lesson that I learned from the classic Christmas story, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. The Ghost of Christmas Present teaches old Scrooge that Christmas “is a season of the heart, a special time of caring, The ways of love made clear. It is the season of the spirit. The message, if we hear it, is make it last all year.” Scrooge also learns that “When you do your best for love, it feels like Christmas.”
I have learned that the Spirit of Christmas is a spirit of love and gratitude. For me, keeping and pondering the spirit of Christmas in my heart all year means working to show love, compassion and kindness as best I can.
I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that He loves us. I know it now and I hope I remember it throughout the year. I know that if we do keep the Spirit of Christmas with us all year, it will be a time of wonders and miracles for us as well.
Brothers and Sisters, May we keep and ponder these things in our hearts. May we remember the miracle of Christ’s Birth, follow His commandments, and Be Believing. May we do our best for love and make the Christmas spirit last all year.