While I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was given a list of Christmas talks to read to prepare myself for Christmas day. Every morning I would spend an hour studying these talks and thinking about the life of Jesus Christ. I hope you enjoy this list and feel free to add your favorite talks to the list as well! Studying this list taught me the true meaning of Christmas.
Gifts of Love by President Henry B. Eyring.
Gift giving requires a sensitive giver and receiver. I hope we will use this little theory not to criticize the gifts that come our way this year, but to see how often our hearts are understood and gifts are given joyfully, even with sacrifice.
There is something you could do this Christmas to start becoming a better gift giver yourself. In fact, as students, you have some special chances. You could begin to put some gifts—great gifts—on layaway for future Christmases.
Maybe, Christmas Doesn’t Come From a Store by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
I wonder what emotions Joseph might have had as he cleared away the dung and debris. I wonder if he felt the sting of tears as he hurriedly tried to find the cleanest straw and hold the animals back. I wonder if he wondered: “Could there be a more unhealthy, a more disease-ridden, a more despicable circumstance in which a child could be born? Is this a place fit for a king? Should the mother of the Son of God be asked to enter the valley of the shadow of death in such a foul and unfamiliar place as this? Is it wrong to wish her some comfort? Is it right He should be born here?”
Can We See the Christ in Christmas? by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Sometimes when we read about people who could not see the Savior for who He was, we marvel at their blindness. But do we also let distractions obstruct our view of the Savior—during this Christmas season and throughout the year? Some are external distractions—the gifts we worry about, the decorations, or the clamorous advertising—but often it is what is inside us that blinds us from seeing the Christ.
The Light and Life of the World by Elder David A. Bednar
The account of the first Christmas in the Book of Mormon helps us to learn and more fully understand that Jesus Christ is the “light which shineth in darkness” (see D&C 10:57–61). In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.
Many of our memorable and enduring Christmas traditions include different kinds of lights—lights on trees, lights in and on our homes, candles on our tables. May the beautiful lights of every holiday season remind us of Him who is the source of all light.
The Spirit of the Season by President Thomas S. Monson
No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at Gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility—all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.
Why Not Ask? by Elder Larry R. Lawrence
Imagine for a moment that you are a child again. It’s Christmas morning, and your home is filled with the spirit of the season. Christmas music is playing. Your father passes out a special gift to each member in the family. Each gift was carefully selected; each is something very useful. After the presents are received with thankfulness, your mother disappears into the kitchen to cook up something special.
While you are enjoying this beautiful moment, you notice that there are many unopened gifts left under the Christmas tree. You can tell what’s inside, because the gifts are clearly labeled. You realize that you could use some of these valuable gifts yourself.
Reluctantly, you approach your father, not wanting to appear greedy. “Father,” you ask, “whom are these other presents for?” He smiles warmly and explains, “For whoever wants one.” That sounds way too good to be true. You think to yourself, “There must be a catch.” Then your father explains, “Just ask for what you need. I won’t scold you for asking.”
A Wholesome, Hallowed, Gracious Christmas By Elder Marion D. Hanks
Master of Christmas, You dared to bleed and die
That others might find life. How much more I
Should willingly give up my present days
To lofty deeds; seek out the ways
To build a splendid life. I should not fail
To set my feet upon the star-bound trail
For him—that After Self. You said that he
Who’d lose his life should find it, and I know
You found a larger life, still live and grow.
Your doctrine was, so I’ve been told, serve man.
I wonder if I’m doing all I can
To serve? Will serving help that Older Me
To be the man he’d fondly like to be?
Last night I passed a shack
Where hunger lurked. I must go back
And take a lamb, Is that the message of the Star
Whose rays, please God, can shine this far?
Tonight, not one alone am I, but three—
The Lad I was, the Man I am, and he
Who is my Future Self—nay, more:
I am His savior—that thought makes me four!
Master of Christmas, that Star of Thine shines clear—
Bless Thou the four of me—out here!
Wholesome, hallowed, gracious.