This week on social: 2020 twists on family Christmas traditions

Families of Church leaders appeared in their social media posts this week as their thoughts turned to Christmas and the Savior.

“For me, Christmas has always been a time to be with family,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote in a Dec. 17 Facebook post. Christmas is a time for family traditions, such as, as shown in an old family photo shared with the post, reenacting the Nativity with family.

But during this pandemic, many people can’t be with their loved ones this year. “Despite the challenge of being separated from family this Christmas season — along with other significant trials you may have experienced this year — I testify that joy does still exist,” he wrote.

“Lasting joy comes from knowing that we have been given a Savior to ease our burdens and heal our wounded souls.”

In a Dec. 16 tweet, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, also shared a photo of his family reenacting the Nativity — with a 2020 twist. Here his family used a videoconference to share the experience, which a scene from “The Christ Child” reminded him of.

Then on Dec. 18, President Oaks shared a Christmas message on Instagram.

The good tidings of Christ’s birth were to all people, the angel proclaimed to the shepherds (Luke 2:10), said President Oaks, who shared a quote from President Russell M. Nelson‘s First Presidency Christmas Devotional address: “Jesus Christ was born to bless all humankind, past, present, and future. … He came to make immortality a reality and eternal life a possibility for all who would ever live.”

Added President Oaks: “That is the great message of Christ’s birth. That is the true and full meaning of our Christmas celebration.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also shared a Christmas message. In a Dec. 16 Instagram post, he wrote about the personal peace the Savior offers to all.

Personal peace isn’t just temporary tranquility, he wrote. “It is an abiding deep happiness and spiritual contentment. It comes from knowing that the Savior knows who we are and knows that we have faith in Him, love Him, and keep His commandments, even and especially amid life’s devastating trials and tragedies.”

The Savior is the source, the author and the Prince of Peace.

“This Christmas season, I pray we may all take time to turn to Him, #HearHim, and seek more deeply for the personal peace He so longs to grant us.”

In a Dec. 15 post on Twitter, President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, wrote how he feels the spirit of Christmas.

Sister Lisa Harkness, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, recently was on a virtual trip assignment to several countries in West Africa. Not only did she meet with people in meetings and devotionals, but she was able to visit families in their homes via WhatsApp. “It was a sweet experience to feel the faith of these devoted families,” she wrote in a Dec. 14 Instagram post.

She loves to ask children what their favorite Primary songs or hymns are and why they like them. She shared a video of a family in West Africa singing “I Am a Child of God” together with her.

“What is your favorite song about Jesus? What better gift could you give to the children, grandchildren, and young people in your lives than to help them know more about their Savior through inspired music that testifies of Him!”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary on Dec. 14. 

That day, accompanying a video of the couple dancing together in a Church cultural hall, Elder Uchtdorf wrote in an Instagram post some of their history. They met as teenagers at church in Germany, and they learned to dance together at Church activities. “As you can see from this video taken before COVID-19, we still love to dance together!”

One of the great blessings the gospel has for them is the depth and strength of love they feel for one another “as we move through the ups and downs of life itself.”

Elder Uchtdorf shared a “profound truth” that Sister Uchtdorf recently shared with young adults.

She said, “Some of you are married, some are single, but all of you are living among the people of this world. You are the chosen ones of our days, who by word and deed teach and live the gospel message among the people. … You have the potential to be angels of glory to those around you.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, recently spoke to BYU–Idaho graduates in a virtual commencement ceremony on Dec. 16. In a Facebook post that same evening, he shared some of what he spoke on.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the campus experience of these graduates as well as everyone in the world. However, the constraints and limitations that the virus imposed has taught lessons. 

“As hard as it may be for us to imagine today, we will be better, stronger, and more capable because of the constraints, the limitations, and the deprivations we have experienced.

“Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.”

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, often thinks of those who are suffering, worried, afraid or feeling alone. In a Dec. 16 tweet, he assured them that the Lord knows them and is aware of their concerns.

“Much of revelation is not about the ‘what’ but about the when,’” Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, wrote in a Dec. 14 Facebook post.

Elder Bednar taught this truth when speaking about the extensive renovations taking place in the Salt Lake Temple. Church leaders knew for some time the work was needed, but the time wasn’t right yet. The renovations didn’t begin until the technology, equipment and right team were available.

“Sometimes we know something needs to happen in our lives. We may pray for an answer and feel like we are not getting it. Trust the Lord and His timing,” Sister Craig wrote.