This Christmas on social: President Nelson testifies of ‘first and greatest gift of Christmas’

The “first and greatest gift of Christmas” was not gold, frankincense or myrrh — it was the gift from a loving Heavenly Father of His Beloved Son, President Russell M. Nelson wrote in a social media post on Christmas Eve.

“This Christmas, let us accept God’s perfect and precious gift. Let us cast our burdens and sins at the Savior’s feet and experience the joy that comes from repentance and change. Let us follow Jesus Christ and emulate His life as we celebrate His birth,” the Prophet wrote on Dec. 24.

President Nelson was one of many leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who shared feelings on social media of the birth and life of the Savior in the days leading up to Christmas.

Near the end of his time as a young missionary, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, purchased a sweater set for his future wife. He gave it to Barbara Bowen for Christmas in 1950. 

“Although my sweetheart and eternal companion has passed from this earth life, I know that because of Jesus Christ’s willingness to come to earth to fulfill God’s plan, we all can return to our heavenly home to live with our heavenly parents, our Savior, and our loved ones once again,” he wrote on Dec. 19.

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon came home one night during the week before Christmas to find her tree half-decorated by three young grandsons.

“Christmas trees aren’t always perfect or beautiful, but if we are watching we will learn that living for the sake of others makes us most beautiful in the eyes of God,” she said in a Dec. 23 post. 

In a Dec. 24 post, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recalled spending several nights in the hospital in December 1976 with his father prior to his death. In the early hours of Christmas morning, as Elder Holland was feeling sorry for himself for losing his dad, heaven sent a small Christmas declaration — the clear, unbroken cry of a baby.

“Jeff, my boy,” God seemed to say with that baby’s cry, “I expected a little more from you. … Christmas is joyful not because it is a season or decade or lifetime without pain and privation, but precisely because life does hold those moments for us, but also holds an answer to them.”

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his testimony of the Savior in a Dec. 23 post: “Jesus Christ is in fact the infant born in Bethlehem; He is truly the Savior and Redeemer of the world.”

As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reflected on Dec. 21 on past Christmases with “heartache and joy,” what he remembered most was the love his family had for each other, how they loved and accepted the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and how they loved the Savior.

Along with a painting titled “Delivered,” Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham wrote on Dec. 22: “Joy — the perfect expression of how we feel about the Savior! And how great will be our joy when we help others prepare for His Second Coming!”

In a Dec. 21 post, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested worshipping the Savior this season by bringing peace to troubled hearts, good will to those in need of higher purpose, and glory to God in willingness to do His bidding.

In a Dec. 19 video shared by Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, Sister Lori Newbold, a member of the Young Women general advisory council, explains how a verse in Isaiah about Jesus Christ helps her overcome heartache and sorrow during Christmastime.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted a painting on Twitter on Dec. 24 of Mary and baby Jesus and shared this scripture: “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold … on the morrow come I into the world” (3 Nephi 1:13).

Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, shared a favorite Christmas story on Dec. 21 about lambs being born on Christmas morning.

“When I first heard this story, my heart and mind were immediately drawn to thoughts of another Lamb born on that very first Christmas day: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God,” she wrote.

Just as the Savior’s experiences in mortality had redeeming purpose, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote on Dec. 22, “our experiences, especially the difficult ones, will prepare and enable us to lift and help redeem one another.”

Young Men General President Steven J. Lund reflected in a Dec. 24 post about seeing the Christmas Star in December 2020 and receiving a photo of his newborn grandson in that very moment.

“I felt closer to the Christ child that night, connecting with He who was born — only to die and live again — so that my family, which now included this new baby boy, could be forever together,” he wrote.

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, shared a picture of her three sons on Dec. 20, and said that Christmas is a time to gather with family and rejoice together “in the miracle of our Savior’s birth and the significance of His infinite and eternal sacrifice.”

Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, has a birthday on Christmas. In a Dec. 22 post, he invited his social media followers with December birthdays to share their stories, and testified that “no matter how many try to take Christ out of Christmas, it will always and forever be about Him.”

In a Dec. 24 post, Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shared her testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ: “I love Jesus. I can never find the words to say how I feel. He is the Great Jehovah with the voice of a mighty wind. He is the one and the only true God in a world fraught with opposition and people who are false imitators of Him. … He is the Prince of Peace.”

Also on Dec. 24, Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace cited the words to the hymn “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and wrote: “Even when it appears that ‘hate is strong’ in the world around us, I promise that as you draw near to Jesus Christ you will feel in your heart the peace and “good tidings of great joy” that He eagerly bestows upon all His disciples (Luke 2:10). Then, as you share that love with those around you, peace on earth becomes a reality!”