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Family traditions

President Eyring asks that Christ be an integral part

Church members must try with all their heart and strength to do what the Savior did, said President Henry B. Eyring.

"We cannot give the great gift to others that He gave, the gift of the Atonement. His is the only name under Heaven by which we are saved," said President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency. "But we can try to do His works and help Him serve others as He would serve them."

Speaking at the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Dec. 7, President Eyring talked about Bishop Sellers, who lived close to the highway in Rexburg, Idaho. During a time of unemployment, many destitute people would seek out bishops in the town for help. Often bishops would send them to the home of Bishop Sellers.

"There was a reason for that. There was a tradition in the Sellers family: they welcomed strangers in need."

The Sellers would feed their visitors, fit them with a warm coat and another meal, and send them away with a warm heart, said President Eyring. "Because some of the coldest times in Rexburg were in the Christmas season and because of the family's tradition of yearlong charity, the children in the Sellers' home carried a memory of parents giving gifts that Jesus would have given on the day in December when we honor Him.

"You and your family may have built your own Christmas traditions to fit your circumstances, but they will have some things in common," President Eyring continued. "They will draw hearts to the Savior. And they will include acts of kindness which in the world to come will merit the approbation of the Savior."

Quoting Matthew 25:40, President Eyring said the Savior will say, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

President Eyring said when his children were little, his family had a Christmas tradition: a Christmas pageant with all its words drawn from scripture. Although the pageant started small, it grew as the family grew, recalled President Eyring. "But then time passed, as it does, and the players grew up and we are back to the beginning. I have watched those Josephs, Marys, shepherds, sheep, and lambs, kings and wise men move on to create their own traditions. They were blessed to learn in the parts they played in our pageant something about the Savior and why we love Him and how we honor Him."

President Eyring said the Savior — the Lamb of God — was the greatest gift ever given. "His sacrifice was foreseen before His birth in Bethlehem. He was the Lamb 'slain from the foundation of the world.' He volunteered to come down from royal courts on high to be born in a humble stable. By His life and sacrifice He gave us all the gift of resurrection after death, the certainty that we would live again. His perfect life and His unimaginable suffering made possible our forgiveness from all sin and the possibility to choose Eternal Life, to be lifted up to live forever with God, in families and in glory."

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