man visiting woman in hospital

Photo illustration by David Stoker

Another Christmas season is upon us and with it the dawning of a new year. It seems as though only yesterday we were celebrating the Savior’s birth and making resolutions.

Among our resolutions for this year, did we resolve to make time in our lives and room in our hearts for the Savior? No matter how successful we may have been thus far with such a resolution, I am confident we all wish to do better. This Christmas season is the perfect time to examine and renew our efforts.

In our busy lives, with ever so many other things competing for our attention, it is essential that we make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes. And it is vital that we, like the Wise Men from the East, remain fixed upon His star and “come to worship him.”1

Down through the generations of time, the message from Jesus has been the same. To Peter and Andrew by the shores of Galilee, He said, “Follow me.”2 To Philip came the call, “Follow me.”3 To the Levite who sat at receipt of customs came the instruction, “Follow me.”4 And to you and to me, if we but listen, will come that same beckoning invitation: “Follow me.”5

As we follow in His footsteps today and as we emulate His example, we will have opportunities to bless the lives of others. Jesus invites us to give of ourselves: “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.”6

Is there someone for whom you should provide service this Christmas? Is there one who awaits your visit?

Years ago I paid a Christmas call at the home of an elderly widow. While I was there, the doorbell rang. There at the door stood a very busy and prominent physician. He had not been summoned; rather, he had just felt a prompting to pay a visit to a patient who was lonely.

During this season, the hearts of those who are confined reach out and yearn for a Christmas visit. One Christmas while visiting a care center, I sat and talked with five elderly ladies, the oldest of whom was 101. She was blind, yet she recognized my voice.

“Bishop, you are a little late this year!” she said. “I thought you would never come.”

We had a wonderful time together. One patient, however, looked longingly out the window and repeated over and over, “I know my boy will come to see me today.” I wondered if he would, for there had been other Christmas seasons when he had never called.

There is yet time this year to extend the helping hand, the loving heart, and the willing spirit—in other words, to follow the example set by our Savior and to serve as He would have us serve. As we serve Him, we will not forfeit our opportunity, as did the innkeeper of old,7 to make time for Him in our lives and room for Him in our hearts.

Can we comprehend the magnificent promise contained in the message of the angel given to the shepherds abiding in the field: “I bring you good tidings of great joy. … For unto you is born this day … a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”?8

As we exchange gifts at Christmas, may we remember, appreciate, and receive that greatest gift of all gifts—the gift of our Savior and Redeemer, that we might have eternal life.

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”9

May we follow Him, serve Him, honor Him, and receive in our lives His gifts to us, that we might be, in the words of Father Lehi, “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”10

Teaching from This Message

President Monson calls on us to “make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes.” Consider discussing with those you teach how they can make this conscious effort individually and as a family. You might consider asking them to think of a specific person or family whom they could visit or serve this Christmas. “There is yet time this year to extend the helping hand, the loving heart, and the willing spirit.”