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President Henry B. Eyring: 'Christmas Stories'

Latter-day Saints can choose this Christmas and every day to create a small part of the Christmas story in their own lives, said President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, Dec. 6.

"We can accept the invitation of living prophets to help those who are lost along the pathway and have wandered to come back to it," he said. "We can offer the gospel, which is the only way home, to all we meet along the way. We can lift up those who are tired and hungry and lonely, as the Savior did and now invites us to do with Him. As we do, they can feel how much the Savior loves them and wants to lead them on the way to the God He loves."

Speaking during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, President Eyring said the story of Christmas is a story of love.

"We heard the story first before the world was created. Heavenly Father told us of His plan of happiness for all of us, His beloved children. Out of love, He would let us come down from His royal courts to live in a world where we would be free to choose to come home again to Him. He said that because of temptations, it would be so hard for us to choose the right that we would need a Savior. We would all need power beyond our own to be rescued from death and sin.

"Jehovah, out of His great love for the Father and for us, volunteered to come down from His exalted place as the Firstborn in the spirit world to face the trials we would face and to save us if we loved Him enough to keep the commandments He would give us. At the heart of those commandments, we were to love the Father and His son and all of God's other children. Hearing that story so filled our hearts with love for the Father and His Son that we shouted for joy and worshipped them."

Further, President Eyring said, many have told since of the glorious time in that story when the Christ child was born to rescue and lead His Father's children home.

"Of the inspired accounts, the ones we treasure most help us feel again the tender love and care of the Father and of His Beloved Son for all of us, and especially for the least of us.

"That is one of the reasons we love Luke's story of the birth of Jesus. Each time we hear it we can feel again the love of our Father for us and for all His children. Each detail of the story makes real for us the messages of love."

Luke's messages include Mary the Mother of Jesus wrapping her first-born child tenderly and laying Him in a manger. Then angels, in glorious light, announce to humble shepherds that the long-promised Messiah is born.

"The story of Christmas given by Luke creates feelings of peace and goodwill, just as the angel choir promised," President Eyring said. "Every inspired account of the birth of Jesus has that power."

President Eyring explained that the promise of peace, which the Lord brought at His birth, comes whenever individuals qualify to experience His love and cleansing power, which comes because of His atonement.

"Heavenly Father, out of His love, has sent angels and prophets to tell that story of Christmas even before Jesus was born."

It is the same after the coming of Christ, said President Eyring. "We lay hold upon every good thing through our faith in Him. True stories of Christmas always increase that faith in Him and in His mission. And with that faith, our determination grows to join with Him to help in His loving mission of mercy and rescue.

"It is wonderful always to remember Him, but especially as we celebrate His birth. He came to bless children. He healed the sick. He invited all, even those who despised Him, to follow Him and so choose the way home to our Heavenly Father."

President Eyring said in the stories of Christ's birth, "we can see and feel who He was and who He is. That lightens our load along the way. And it will lead us to forget ourselves and to lighten the load for others. That can make every day feel like the best of our Christmases past.

"We can feel again the Savior's loving approval and His thanks. And those we help for Him may sense that helping hand the Master holds out to them, if only they choose to take it.

"I testify that the child born of Mary in Bethlehem was the divine and perfect Son of God. He loves us perfectly, as does our Father. Jehovah came as the Christ to open for us the only way to escape from sin and sorrow. I pray that we will choose that way and help all those we can to go home to God with us in love."

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