When I was a little boy, Christmas was not as meaningful to me as it was to other children because of the very modest economical situation of my parents. In our country, Haiti, it was and still is a tradition for parents with the financial means to place one or more gifts under the pillow of their children on Christmas Eve. When the morning came, my brothers, my sisters and myself would read the joy on the faces of other children while sadness was clearly on ours. Personally, I used to wonder if Santa favored those children more than he cared for us. He gave more toys, I thought, to those who already had while he forgot about us poor children who never received a gift during this special time!
But as I grew up, I realized that Christmas was more than just gifts. By becoming a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have instead learned that Christmas is a time of sharing, joy, love, compassion, gratitude and charity. For it is in the true spirit of Christmas that Our Heavenly Father, in His divine love, has given us His precious Son Jesus Christ as a gift for the well-being of all mankind.
This 'Divine Gift' had long been predicted both on the Asian continent as well as on the American continent. For example, we clearly remember Samuel the Lamanite in the Book of Mormon who prophesied concerning the visible signs such as light and the appearance of a new star during the Savior's birth.
My dear brothers and sisters, the birth of Jesus brings us light which is hope and indescribable joy. Can you imagine people waiting for their Redeemer, then one day this hope becomes a divine reality? Could you describe the happiness that flowed in the hearts of this people? I like the way the Book of Mormon describes this event:
“And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
“And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
“And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.” (3 Nephi 1:19-21).
We learn that in the ancient world the shepherds were visited by an angelic choir that came to celebrate the coming of Christ here below. Then the three wise men saw a star and followed it to worship the Son of God. While in the American continent, there was a night without darkness and this was a sign of the coming of Christ. The story in the new world is truly extraordinary.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I invite you to rejoice in this admirable light, and then begin and continue to share it with each person in need through ministering so that you can all literally benefit from this invitation received directly from Him:
' … I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Today, as an adult, I no longer have to look for a gift under my pillow on Christmas Eve because, thanks to the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am constantly blessed with this gift that illuminates each of my steps and those of my family. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles invites us to follow Christ and become His disciples: “During this Christmas season and throughout the entire year, may we seek with our hearts and souls our beloved Savior, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One of Israel. For this desire, in large part, defines not only who we are as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but even more who we really are as Christ’s disciples.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Seeking Christ at Christmas, Liahona December 2017)
My dear brothers and sisters, may we develop greater faith in Jesus Christ which will generate a greater light of hope and peace in this world, and knowledge that through His atonement we can inherit eternal life.