Elder Clayton at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional: ‘Fear not’

Credit: IRI
Credit: IRI
Credit: IRI
Credit: IRI

The heavenly charge given to shepherds abiding in a field to ‘Fear not,’ is one applied to us today, Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy taught during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on Dec. 6.

“We gather tonight because of our shared love for Christmas and the Christmas season,” Elder Clayton said. “This season has a divine ability to bring us together as families, friends and communities.”

He continued, “As a parent, and now as a grandparent, I have been reminded of the magic of Christmas as I have watched my children, and now their children, celebrate the Savior’s birth and enjoy one another’s company as our family gathers together.”

Elder Clayton and his wife, Sister Kathy Clayton, have made an annual tradition of watching a local production of "A Christmas Carol."

“Every year, as we watch Ebenezer Scrooge undertake his miraculous transformation from a heartless hermit into a happy neighbor filled with Christmas joy, we feel the tug to let go of the Scrooge within each of us,” he said. “We feel prompted to do a little better in our own lives to follow the Savior’s example of charity to all.”

Another tradition shared by many families during Christmastime is reading the account of the Savior’s birth in the book of Luke. In this account, an angel of the Lord announces the birth of the Lord to shepherds in that same country. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

“The astonishing glory of God, which radiated from the unexpected heavenly messenger, had indeed struck fear in their hearts. But the news the angel had come to share was nothing to be afraid of,” Elder Clayton said. The announcement was that with the birth of Christ, the redemption of mankind had commenced, he said.

Everyone faces moments when that great joy can seem far distant, Elder Clayton said. “And yet, despite life’s hardships, the message of the Lord to each of us is the same today as it was to the shepherds keeping watch two thousand years ago: ‘Fear not.’” Because of the Savior, fear will never triumph and is never justified, he said. No earthly problem is lasting and no one is beyond redeeming.

“The sweetest gift given at Christmas will always be the one our Savior Himself gave us: His perfect peace,” Elder Clayton said. “Even in a world where peace seems far off, the Savior’s gift of peace can live in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.”

Elder Clayton concluded, “May this season be one of peace and joy for you and your loved ones, for ‘unto us was born that day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:11).

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