From homes full of light to homes full of teenagers, the messages shared on social media this week by Church leaders invite all to share the peace and joy of the gospel.
President Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, shared how the Christmas season is a time to celebrate the Prince of Peace. Peace is the Savior’s promise and everyone’s goal.
“The Savior and His Apostles had no program for world peace other than individual righteousness,” he wrote in the Dec. 8 post.
“The blessings of the gospel are universal, and so is the formula for peace: keep the commandments of God.”
Elder Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles loves reading the scriptural accounts of the Savior’s birth during the holiday season, and he has also found examples of comfort and peace given.
“Such examples can be seen when our loving Heavenly Father sent His angels to visit the socially isolated shepherds during the night to announce the birth of His Son and when the shepherds in turn visited Mary and Joseph who were caring for a newborn baby far from their home in Galilee,” he wrote in the Dec. 8 post.
Each person can become a modern-day member of the angelic host by bringing the good news of Christ, peace and comfort to others.
“As we turn our hearts outward like the Savior did, I promise that you can better experience the meaning of Christmas by taking time for people.”
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, shared a story about a mother and her 9-year-old daughter from her First Presidency Christmas Devotional address, on her Facebook page on Dec. 8.
As the pair rushed through a department store jewelry section, the daughter noticed a banner that proclaimed, “The gift that never stops giving.” After contemplating the sign for a moment, she told her mother, “Mom, I know what the gift is that never stops giving. … It’s Jesus!”
“I testify that Jesus Christ is the perfect gift — the gift that never stops giving,” Sister Jones wrote. “May we all hold that truth in our hearts this Christmas and forever.”
Many Christmas traditions center on lights, whether they are lights on trees, lights in or on homes or candles on tables. In a Dec. 13 Instagram post, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared how these lights serve as a reminder of Him Who is the source of all light.
“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,” he wrote. “I witness that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, triumphantly fulfilled His mortal mission and ministry, and as our resurrected Lord, He lives today.”
Speaking of a tradition involving lights, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles joined Her Excellency Hunaina Al-Mughairy, ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, at a ceremony to switch on the lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center on Nov. 29.
In a Dec. 6 Facebook post, Elder Rasband shared how Christmas is a great opportunity for people of any background, faith or nationality to join together in service and love.
“During this Christmas season, I pray that we will all find time for gratitude and service,” he wrote. “Do good, build faith in Almighty God, and help bring those around you to a happier place.”
Thanksgiving morning for Elder Neil L. Andersen was spent with his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, ten of their grandchildren, and over 1,500 missionaries.
In a Dec. 6 Instagram post, Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a Thanksgiving card his grandchildren had made for missionaries spending their holiday in a Missionary Training Center. While they personally passed out copies to those attending the Thanksgiving morning devotional with Elder Andersen at the Provo, Utah, MTC, they were also distributed to missionaries in MTCs in Brazil, Colombia, England, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines and South Africa.
“I was pleased to hear that for some missionaries, this card helped them overcome some homesickness and gain additional perspective about their service,” he wrote in the Dec. 6 post.
In Elder Andersen’s devotional message to the missionaries, he shared how each person can be grateful for the ability to make choices, life itself, and the Savior, Jesus Christ.
“As we encounter unimagined challenges in our lives, we might consider thinking about all the things we are thankful for. If we keep a spirit of thankfulness in our hearts, we will have courage to overcome our obstacles.”
While her children were in school, Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, began a tradition of making a treat for them on Fridays. Her kids started calling it “treat Friday,” and the name stuck. By the time they were in high school, Sister Craig’s home was filled to the brim with teenagers every Friday afternoon, “and I loved it!” she wrote in a Dec. 6 Facebook post.
While not every person is in a position to open their home to a crowd of teenagers every week, everyone can reach out to others in “natural and normal ways,” as Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught in his April 2019 general conference address.
“Pray and ask the Lord what small invitation you can make, write down what comes to your mind, and then have the courage to act on it,” Sister Craig suggested. “By intentionally seeking to lift others, my guess is that we will find ourselves being lifted as well.”
During a recent visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, met Judith, a young woman who had recently returned from the Uganda Kampala Mission. She spoke about the challenges she faced on her mission and offered a quote that gave her comfort: “I did not come this far only to come this far.”
In a Dec. 12 Instagram post, Elder Holland wrote how powerful of a truth this is.
“Keep going. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing,” he wrote. “As I have said before, Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.”