Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11.)
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23.)
On this Christmas Day, may we ponder the gifts given to us and receive them gratefully and joyfully. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, invited us to consider the following in his recent address, The Good and Grateful Receiver.
“I hope that this Christmas and every day of the year we will consider, in particular, the many gifts we have been given by our loving Heavenly Father. I hope we will receive these gifts with the wonder, thankfulness, and excitement of a child.
“My heart grows tender and warm as I think of the gifts our loving, gracious, and generous Father in Heaven has given us: the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, the miracle of forgiveness, personal revelation and guidance, the Savior’s peace, the certainty and comfort that death is conquered—and many, many more.
“Above all, God has given us the gift of His Only Begotten Son, who sacrificed His life ‘that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).
“Have we received these gifts with humble gratitude, with joy? Or do we reject them out of pride or a false sense of independence? Do we feel our Father’s love expressed in these gifts? Do we receive them in a way that deepens our relationship with this wonderful, divine Giver? Or are we too distracted to even notice what God gives us each and every day?
“We know that ‘God loveth a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:7), but does He not also love a good, grateful, and cheerful receiver?
“’For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift’ (Doctrine and Covenants 88:33).”
May we all rejoice in the Giver and in His precious gifts this Christmas day and every day.
As I noticed your highlight links on “precious” and “gifts” and also being Christmas day, I pondered what it must have been like for God the Father to give up his precious exalted son, a most precious gift for Him to give up.
As I clicked the links and did more searching it became clear that this giving up – was not the “precious gift”. The link for precious points out that He (Jesus Christ) is precious. Not just precious, but essential for our salvation and immortality.
The link for gifts says: “… lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, …”
Helaman in teaching his sons about this precious gift (eternal life) tells them to keep the commandments and to do good works. He then goes on to tell them to lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven. And that only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ can we receive this gift. (Helaman 5:6-9)
Eternal life for man is God’s work and glory. (Moses 1:39)
A scripture that sheds light on eternal life is: (D&C 81: 6) “And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father.” Eternal life is life with God the Father and his son Jesus Christ.
Another one is: (D&C 59:23) “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”
So in summary:
Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man. It is to live forever as families in God’s presence. And it is only possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ and our righteous living.
I really like your thought about how Heavenly Father must have felt to give His most precious gift to the world to provide the most precious gift of eternal life to all of us. Thanks for sharing what you pondered.
I also like the idea from D&C 59:23 that we can have peace in this world by doing the works of righteousness. President George Albert Smith said “that the price of peace and happiness is righteousness.” When Jesus instituted the sacrament, the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew, adds this insight to the purposes of this sacred ordinance. It is not just to remember what Christ did, it is to invite us do the things Christ did. JST Matthew 26:24-25 teaches: “For this is in remembrance of my blood of the new testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall observe to do the things which ye have seen me do, and bear record of me even unto the end.”
That is a bold mission that we all have been asked to complete–do the things we have seen the Savior do and bear record of Him all our days!
Thank you, Jennilyn, for all of these messages. I can’t tell you how much they have meant to me and how closer I feel to the Savior.
You are so welcome, Laura. I have really enjoyed them and appreciated everyone’s insights, too.