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Find love, hope and joy in the Promised Messiah this Christmas season, President Eyring writes

‘The spirit of love is the spirit of Christmas,’ President Eyring writes in the December 2022 Liahona

When President Henry B. Eyring reads prophetic promises of the Savior’s birth — especially during the Christmas season — the Holy Ghost witnesses to him again that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

“As I study the Savior’s words and His life, I come to know Him and love Him for what He has done for each of us,” President Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, wrote in the December 2022 Liahona

“The spirit of love is the spirit of Christmas.”

In an article titled “The Promised Messiah,” President Eyring explained that from the time of Adam, God has called His servants to testify of the coming of a Messiah — a gift that would offer love, hope and joy to all.

“The gift of the Son of God is a priceless gift. He is the gift that lights our way and lifts us. He is the gift that sustains us through the difficult days of our mortal journey. He is the gift that offers divine love, lasting hope and true joy,” President Eyring wrote.

‘The Promised Messiah’

For millennia, prophets testified of the birth of a promised Messiah, one who would “redeem all those who shall believe on his name” (Helaman 14:2).

Isaiah prophesied, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Micah proclaimed, “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Nephi saw a virgin “bearing a child in her arms” and was told by an angel that it was “the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Nephi 11:20, 21).

President Russell M. Nelson — with his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor — acknowledges the congregation during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

‘Divine love’

President Eyring noted that in contrast to His power and the vastness of His creation, the events surrounding the Savior’s humble mortal birth “engender a feeling of overwhelming love.”

Jesus could have been born into any situation the Father chose, but in fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy (see Micah 5:2), Jesus was born in a small village in Judea’s hill country. 

“Humble shepherds welcomed Him. Wise men followed a star to worship Him. Political leaders feared Him. His parents had to flee to a foreign country to save Him. …

“Jesus Christ chose to come down from His throne at the right hand of the Father and to take upon Himself mortality. He did so out of love for every spirit son and daughter of His Father who would be born into the world, including you and me.”

During His mortal ministry, President Eyring continued, “Jesus made no distinction between rich and poor, male and female, young and old, healthy and infirm. He did not shun those of different faiths or cultural backgrounds. He loved everyone. He loves everyone.”

‘Lasting hope’

A line in a well-known Christmas carol says, “O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”

“We may not be captive in Egypt or Babylon, as were the ancient Israelites,” President Eyring wrote, “but we are captive nonetheless — captive to sin and death. And like Israel of old, we hope for deliverance. The birth of ‘a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11) heralded the fulfillment of that hope.” 

Quoting words in the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” President Eyring added: “That is why we sing of Bethlehem, ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’”

Isaiah, speaking messianically, said: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1; emphasis added).

‘True joy’

President Eyring testified that through the Promised Messiah, burdens can be made light (see Alma 33:23). 

“That is because the babe of Bethlehem who delivers us from sin and death can also deliver us from sorrow, doubt, fear and pain,” he wrote. 

The Christmas spirit comes from not only reading His words and studying His life but also acting upon what is learned — including gathering the Savior’s sheep to His fold. “We gather as we share the joy we feel because of His birth and because of the Restoration of His gospel. If we are on the path the Lord has designed for us, we will have His light to show others the way to Him.”

Christmas lights shine around the Conference Center in Salt Lake City following the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Life can be difficult, and hard times can threaten one’s faith, President Eyring acknowledged. 

“When we confront trial and tragedy, we may wonder if our faith in God’s Son is a vain hope. But trials are designed to draw us toward the Savior so that He can make us better able to lift others to Him. As we share the ‘good cheer’ (3 Nephi 1:13) of His coming, we lift heads and soften hearts. 

“I promise that the day will come, if it has not already, when your faith in His coming will be confirmed. That will be a happy day.”

In conclusion, President Eyring wrote: “Christmas is a time of love, hope and joy. It is also a time of gratitude and reflection. During Christmas we make new memories and relive old ones. We miss family and friends who have passed on. We wonder where the years have gone and what the new year will bring. 

“And in the midst of our reverie, we give gratitude to God for the glorious gift ‘called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).

“May the spirit of that Christmas gift fill your heart this season and throughout the coming year.”

Read President Eyring’s full article on Liahona.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

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