Sister Jones testifies of Christ as ‘the gift that never stops giving’

One Christmas season as a child, Sister Joy D. Jones’ husband, Rob, found two of his older sisters secretly unwrapping two of their Christmas presents. 

After peeking inside, his sisters rewrapped their gifts. “If you don’t tell Mom, we’ll show you how to do it,” they told young Rob. 

He gave into the temptation and secretly carried a basketball-sized package up to his room. But it felt oddly light. When he carefully opened the gift, it was empty, except for a note. The note read, “I know what you’re doing. Don’t spoil your Christmas. Love, Mom.” 

“He learned his lesson, and that was the end of the great Christmas-gift-peeking caper,” said Sister Jones, Primary general president, during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Sunday, Dec. 8.

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, speaks at The First Presidency Christmas Devotional of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, speaks at The First Presidency Christmas Devotional of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

“Consider your memories, the beautiful sights, the angelic sounds and the unforgettable smells that come to mind when you think of Christmas. Even more tender are the memories many of us carry in our hearts from childhood of the holiness of Christmas — the celebration of our Savior’s birth. Those sacred feelings never leave us.”

Sister Jones illustrated this point with another story. One day while Christmas shopping, a 9-year-old girl noticed a large banner hanging over a display case and showed it to her mother. The banner proclaimed, “The gift that never stops giving.”

“Mom, I know what the gift is that never stops giving,” she said. “It’s Jesus!”

Her mother erroneously responded, “No, sweetheart. It’s diamonds.”

Sister Jones continued, “Using one internet search engine, I found thousands and thousands of items advertised with the phrase ‘The gift that never stops giving.’ Yet try as we may, no material gift that we give will last forever.”

“I testify that Jesus Christ is the perfect gift — the gift that never stops giving.”

She recalled a Christmas as a child when her mother was sick in bed after many late nights of sewing. She wondered how Christmas could go on without her. She prayed that her mother would be healed. 

“As we opened our gifts, I was surprised to find that my special present was an assortment of handmade doll clothing that my mother had been sewing for me during those many late nights of December. I couldn’t wait to run to her and throw my arms around her neck. Oh, how she had sacrificed for me.”

As her father did all he could to make Christmas feel “normal” that year without her mother, Sister Jones realized her parents were a gift to her that never stopped giving. 

A photo of a young Sister Joy D. Jones, her parents and family, which was shown during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.
A photo of a young Sister Joy D. Jones, her parents and family, which was shown during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

To qualify as “a gift that never stops giving,” or a “perfect gift,” a gift would do three things, Sister Jones said. First, it would reveal something about the giver; second, it would reveal something about the needs of the receiver; and third, it would hold its value forever. 

“Doesn’t our beloved Savior, even the Savior of the world, meet these three requirements?” she asked. 

The gift of Jesus Christ’s birth, ministry and atoning sacrifice reveals Heavenly Father’s love for His children. The gift of Jesus Christ demonstrates that Heavenly Father knew a Savior and Redeemer would be needed. And the Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite and eternal in value. 

“Remember the jewelry department banner? That young girl knew intuitively what the true gift is. In this darkened world, we look beyond jewels to the Light of the world,” Sister Jones said. “I testify that Jesus Christ is the perfect gift — the gift that never stops giving.”