During a special, virtual family Christmas devotional to his large and growing posterity, President Russell M. Nelson spoke of Christmas and joy.
“Christmastime is joyful,” said the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Joy comes in family love. Joy comes in righteous living. As God’s children, we know that joy comes in knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us.”
Unable to meet in person with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a weeks-old great-great grandson, President Nelson addressed his family via videoconference on Sunday evening, Dec. 20.
“My message to you is two-fold,” he said. “First, I love you! Do not ever forget that! I love you not only now, but forever.
“Second, fix your focus on the Lord with joy — the joy of your always being worthy and ready to meet your Maker, prepared for the joy of families that can be together forever!”
During a 45-minute virtual gathering, President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, watched as Nelson family members sang Christmas carols and shared photographs of family members recreating the Christmas Nativity. Children dressed as shepherds, wise men, angels and stars. Many babies played the role of the Babe in Bethlehem.
The evening ended as the Nelson daughters performed a double quartet — blending their voices with the help of technology from Hawaii, Peru and several locations in Utah.
“What a wonderful pageant,” proclaimed President Nelson.
He recalled a time years ago when one of his daughters held a padded star mounted on the tip of a broomstick.
“All through the pageant, she held that star as high as she could, for a very long time. I asked her, ‘How could you possibly hold that star so high for such a long time?’
“I will never forget her answer. ‘I had the most important part to play,’ she replied. ‘I was helping people to find Jesus.’”
President Nelson called it a scriptural promise that “a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
“Children are pure, and they are great motivators,” said President Nelson.
No Christmas program would be complete without the singing of “Joy to the World,” said President Nelson. “It reminds us of the angel who announced to the shepherds: “I bring you tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10).
“Those angels knew that after centuries of waiting for the Savior to be born, the time had now come when resurrection would become a reality, and eternal life would become a possibility for all who would ever live, even them. No wonder they shouted for joy.”
The Lord created man that he might have joy, explained President Nelson. “Isn’t that wonderful? Joy is part of our purpose in living,” he said. “Even in a bad year — with masks, restraints and sickness everywhere, with distress, debt, and despair around us every day — through it all, we are here to have joy.”
President Nelson said Satan’s power vanishes when God’s children choose to let God prevail in their lives.
“Yet, we all make mistakes,” he said. “From them we can learn and change. We can repent. We can build strength from weakness. Our very hardest things — our greatest trials, even our pain — can “be consecrated to our gain (2 Nephi 2:2).
“As we sing ‘Hallelujah,’ we are practicing for that millennial day when Christ shall come again. Then, throngs shall raise their voices saying, ‘Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth’ (Revelation 19:6).”