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Christmas Gifts That Count

On rare occasions I step away from my primary theme in this blog. Christmas is certainly one of those. Many people I work with and many readers of this blog are not Christian, but I have not yet met or worked with anyone who does not appreciate the Christmas season as a time to exchange gifts with loved ones or enjoy the company of friends and family around a cup of cheer. So to all my friends, coworkers and blog readers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that this season will find you giving and receiving gifts that count.

What are the gifts that count? To answer that, I want to share with you a selection from a devotional talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (of which I am a member) at the 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

“Christmas and some of the cherished traditions of the season remind us that we, like the Wise Men of old, should seek the Christ and lay before Him the most precious of gifts: a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We should offer Him our love. We should give Him our willingness to take upon ourselves His name and walk in the path of discipleship. We should promise to remember Him always, to emulate His example, and to go about doing good.

We cannot offer Him the gift of perfection in all things because this is a gift beyond our capacity to give—at least for now. The Lord does not expect that we commit to move mountains. But He does require that we bring as gifts our best efforts to move ourselves, one foot in front of the other, walking in the ways He has prepared and taught.

And what are the Savior’s gifts to those who are willing to bring these gifts to Him?

This may be the most one-sided gift exchange in the history of the universe. The Savior’s gifts to us are breathtaking.

Let us begin with immortality. Because the Savior overcame death, all men and women—both the just and the unjust—will live forever.

Then, forgiveness—even though our sins and imperfections be as scarlet, they can become white as snow because of Him.

And finally, eternal life—the greatest gift of all. Because of the Atonement of Christ, not only are we guaranteed an infinite quantity of life, but He offers the possibility of an unimaginable quality of life as well.

Some of His divine gifts are reserved for that glorious future day when we return to His presence.

But He extends many gifts and His grace to us every day. He promises to be with us, to come to us when we need comfort, to lift us when we stumble, to carry us if needed, to mourn and rejoice with us. Every day He offers to take us by the hand and help transform ordinary life into extraordinary spiritual experiences.”

Whether you celebrate the Christ and His birth this season or not, I wish you all peace and joy and a happy and prosperous new year.