Sister Oscarson: Christmas Is about Love, Service, Sacrifice

Contributed By By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 16 December 2014

Sister Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women general president, speaks during the 2014 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday, December 7, 2014.  Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • The Christmas story is defined by divine love and offers many examples of love, sacrifice, and service.
  • The way to increase Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves.

“The way to increase Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves.” —Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president

Christmas is synonymous with Christlike love, taught Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson.

“This is a magical time of the year when miracles happen, hearts are softened, and the pure love of Christ is felt and experienced like no other time of the year,” said Sister Oscarson, Young Women general president. “It is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh.”

Sister Oscarson marveled at the great patience God the Father demonstrated in letting His plan for His children unfold. The Savior of the world did not come to earth with a great show of power and majesty. He came as a helpless baby.

“He is the Redeemer of us all, yet His first visitors were humble shepherds. There is much surrounding the events of that occasion to ponder and consider with awe.”

One of the greatest miracles of the Christmas story, she added, is the love that it reflects. First is the love that Heavenly Father has for His children. Then there is the love that the Savior has for each person He would redeem.

Sister Oscarson shared the story of her great-great-grandfather Jed Stringham, who showed generosity to a family in need on a Christmas morning many, many years ago. Brother Stringham’s selfless ways would serve as an example to both his family and the family to whom he showed kindness.

The spirit of Christmas can make all more charitable, thoughtful, and kind, she noted.

“The way to increase Christmas spirit is to reach out generously to those around us and give of ourselves,” she said. “The best gifts are not material things, but gifts of listening, of showing kindness, of remembering, of visiting, of forgiving, of giving time.”

The Christmas season, added Sister Oscarson, provides many apt symbols.

“When we see shepherds, may we remember to be humble. When we see wise men, may we remember to be generous. When we see the star, may we remember the Light of Christ, which gives life and light to all things. When we see a tiny baby, may we remember to love unconditionally with tenderness and compassion.”

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings during the 2014 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday, December 7, 2014. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.