Christmas Devotional: President Eyring Shares Three Ways to Increase Personal Peace
Contributed By Rachel Sterzer, Church News staff writer
- 1. Celebrate the Savior, Jesus Christ, and “come and adore Him.”
- 2. Teach peace to your families and others you love.
- 3. Give gifts of love and peace as disciples of Jesus Christ.
“May we always remember the service and kindness Jesus Christ gave during His mortal ministry—and resolve to do the same.” —President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency
In offering the concluding address at the annual First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional held in the Conference Center on Sunday, December 4, President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, shared the wish of President Thomas S. Monson and of the First Presidency “that you will have in this season and always the feelings of joy, love, and peace that the Savior promised to His faithful and submissive disciples.”
The gifts of peace
President Eyring focused his remarks on “the gifts of peace” and explained that the true spirit of Christmas is characterized by peace—“not political peace, for the Savior was born at a time of fear and unrest,” nor economic peace, for He was born in a humble stable. Not even the peace that comes when all the wrapped packages are placed under the decorated tree, “for that peace is momentary,” he said.
“The peace of Christmas is ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7). … That peace we seek is only through and because of Jesus Christ,” President Eyring declared.
He shared the words of the Savior, who said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Yet He also promised, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).
That promise of personal peace, President Eyring noted, was given on the night of the Savior’s birth as heavenly messengers declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14).
Three ways to increase peace
In this “blessed” season of the year—more than ever—individuals “seek peace through the Giver of all gifts,” President Eyring said. He then shared three ways individuals can increase the peace they experience this season, throughout the year, and throughout their lives.
1. Celebrate the Savior, Jesus Christ, and “come and adore Him”
First, like the angels who sang on the night of His birth, individuals can feel peace as they celebrate the Savior, Jesus Christ, and “come and adore Him” (“Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful,” Hymns, no. 202).
President Eyring recalled sitting in the balcony of the Salt Lake Tabernacle as a young man listening to a choir sing the music of Handel. “I can remember feeling something in my heart,” he said. “The Spirit confirmed to my heart that the words I heard sung that night were true.”
President Eyring testified: “The baby born in Bethlehem long ago was and is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father. Those who knelt before Him came to worship the Savior. He was the Lamb of God, sent to break the bands of death by His atoning sacrifice. He came with the power to bear our sorrows and our grief that He might know how to succor us. And He was born to atone for all of our sins as only He could.”
Because of the gift of the Savior’s birth, President Eyring continued, “my heart, your heart, and all human hearts can be changed to become again like that of a little child—pure, clean, and fit to go home again to the God who gave us a Savior and provided the way back to Him in His heavenly home.”
As a young man listening to the choir, President Eyring said, he felt gratitude and peace. “So can we all because of the gift of the Father and of the Son.”
2. Teach peace to your families and others you love
Second, like the shepherds who saw the Christ child and “made known abroad” the glad tidings of His birth (Luke 2:17), individuals can teach peace to their families and others they love.
When President Eyring and his wife started having children, they created a family Christmas pageant drawn from the words of the scriptures. At first they were limited in their number of cast members, but “the cast filled out over time.” Slowly they added shepherds, Wise Men, and even sheep.
“But then time passed—as it does,” President Eyring said. “I have watched those Josephs, Marys, shepherds, sheep, lambs, and kings move on to teach their own loved ones of the Savior and about the peace His birth makes possible.”
All those who participated in the pageant were able to learn something about the Savior and why they love Him. “I am grateful that our children and their children saw us honor the baby Jesus, born to be the infinite sacrifice, the priceless gift of peace Heavenly Father gave to all His children,” he said.
3. Give gifts of love and peace as disciples of Jesus Christ
Third, like the Wise Men, individuals can give gifts of love and peace as disciples of Jesus Christ.
President Eyring shared the example of Bishop Sellers from Rexburg, Idaho, and his family, who would often share a delicious meal and the gift of a warm coat with strangers in need.
“You and your family will have built your own Christmas traditions to fit your circumstances, but they will have some things in common,” President Eyring said. “They will draw hearts to the Savior. And they will include acts of kindness that will merit the approbation of the Savior.”
He then quoted Matthew 25:35–36: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
“Angels, shepherds, and Wise Men sought and found peace from their faith in Jesus Christ. So will you,” President Eyring promised. “The Savior’s birth is the gift that makes it possible for the Father to give us ‘peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come’ (D&C 59:23).”
“I pray that peace will come and abide with each of us as we remember, love, and worship our Heavenly Father by keeping our covenants with Him. May we always remember the service and kindness Jesus Christ gave during His mortal ministry—and resolve to do the same.”
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency speaks during the annual First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on Sunday, December 4, at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.