Dear Elders and Sisters,
Christmas is upon us! This is a time when we think of giving just the right gift to family members, friends and loved ones. As we labor in the mission field, far from home and family, it may seem a bit more difficult to think of what we might give to others this year. Perhaps we, like the widow who cast her mite into the treasury, could give all that we have this year. All of our time, our talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed us. The Master whom we serve has promised that we will truly find ourselves as we lose ourselves in the service of others.
Even so, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ we truly have received much. Perhaps this year, without the comforts of home, we can see even more clearly the precious gifts we have received from the Babe born so many years ago in the city of Bethlehem. As I have pondered the teachings of the Apostles and other Church leaders this Christmas season, I have recognized three that are particularly noteworthy:
1) The gift of rest and renewal – “I hope you will take time this Christmas season to sit for a few quiet moments and let the Savior’s Spirit warm you and reassure you of the worthiness of your service, of your offering, of your life. Sit quietly with that little baby and come away spiritually strengthened and better prepared for all that is going to come later. Let that moment be one of rest and refreshing and reassurance and renewal” (Elder Christofferson, December 2015 Liana).
2) The gift of change – “The transformative spirit of the Christmas season is rooted in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ to change our lives for the better” (Elder Clayton, 2015 First Presidency’s Christmas devotional).
3) The gift of 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” (Elder Bednar, 2015 First Presidency’s Christmas devotional).
Let us use these gifts to better ourselves and then faithfully share what we have with others. Remember that you are never alone in this work. I have great faith and confidence in each of you. I look forward to the great things that you will accomplish in the coming year and in your lives.
With love and warm holiday wishes,
Mentor of Champions
Mentor of Champions