Christmas Devotional: Gifts from Heavenly Father Include Holy Ghost, Says Brother Holmes

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 4 December 2016

Brother Douglas D. Holmes of the Young Men General Presidency speaks at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional December 4, 2016, in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Article Highlights

  • Ponder how we might truly receive the gifts God has offered us, such as peace and the Holy Ghost.

“Peace may seem elusive in a world where conflict and division are intensifying. But that peace is exactly what our loving Father and His Son offer to each of us, if we will only receive it.” Brother Douglas D. Holmes of the Young Men General Presidency

God offers His priceless gifts freely to all at Christmas and throughout the year, said Brother Douglas D. Holmes, First Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, on December 4.

“I pray we will not leave them unopened but receive them by turning these keys,” he said. “I testify that as we do, we will be filled, step by step and degree by degree, with love, joy, peace, purity, and power.”

Speaking during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Brother Holmes said giving and receiving gifts is a central part of Christmas.

(View or read Brother Holmes’s full address.)

“After all, we are celebrating the matchless gift of God’s Son, the Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. “Of course, our gifts to each other will never compare to this gift, but I believe that the joy of giving and receiving gifts can turn our hearts toward the ‘gifts of God’ (Moroni 10:8).”

The precious gift of God’s Son “invites each of us to ‘find peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come’ (D&C 59:23),” he said. “Peace may seem elusive in a world where conflict and division are intensifying. But that peace is exactly what our loving Father and His Son offer to each of us, if we will only receive it.”

Brother Holmes asked Church members to imagine “how strange it would be if, on Christmas morning, we sat around the Christmas tree, admired the beautifully wrapped presents, talked about what might be inside them, and then went about our day without ever opening the gifts.

“Unfortunately, this is what we sometimes do with God’s gifts to us. … Tonight I want to invite all of us to ponder how we might truly receive the gifts God has offered us.”

In particular, he said he would like to focus on the boundless gift of the Holy Ghost. “As I do, I pray that the Holy Ghost will help us understand the significance of this gift, teach us what we can do to more fully receive it, and give us grace to act on what we feel.”

Latter-day Saints often speak of trying to keep the spirit of Christmas throughout the year, he said. “We naturally want these divine attributes to truly possess our souls forever. And our perfect Father wants us, His children, to receive these gifts. This is the great promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ—to have our hearts changed, to have ‘no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually’ (Mosiah 5:2), to be filled with ‘hope and perfect love’ (Moroni 8:26). It is in truly receiving the Holy Ghost that these precious gifts are opened to us.”

Brother Douglas D. Holmes of the Young Men General Presidency speaks at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional December 4, 2016, in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Significantly, he said the gift of the Holy Ghost is offered with the words “Receive the Holy Ghost.”

Brother Holmes suggested three keys that will help Latter-day Saints truly receive this precious gift: overarching spiritual desire, righteously participating in ordinances, and increasing faith.

“If we desire the Holy Ghost as our daily companion, we will feast on and obey the word of Christ received through the scriptures, living prophets, and the whisperings of the Spirit,” he said. “This daily pursuit of light and truth will increase our faith in Christ, our desire to be like Him, and our capacity to receive the third member of the Godhead as our constant companion.”