- It seems appropriate that giving and receiving gifts is a central part of Christmas. After all, we are celebrating the matchless gift of God’s Son, the Savior Jesus Christ. 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.”
He asks us to think of what Christmas would be like if we were given gifts, only to admire that we received it but never opened it. He encourages us to look at the gifts that God has given us and seek ways to open them for our personal benefit.
- 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!
- Tonight I want to invite all of us to ponder how we might truly receive the gifts God has offered us. In particular, I’d 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.
He speaks about the gift of the Holy Ghost that God has given to us. He reviews the fruits of the spirit and compares those fruits to what we call today, the Christmas Spirit. They are very similar.
- You remember some of those attributes: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance.” To me this sounds like a good description of what is often called “the Christmas spirit.” The angelic promises of “good tidings of great joy” and “peace, good will toward men” from that first Christmas night are fulfilled, in part, as we receive the Holy Ghost.
Brother Douglas says there are three things we can do to receive the precious gift that God has given us. He uses examples from the Book of Mormon to teach us how we can receive the gift with greater impact in our lives.
Overarching Spiritual Desire
- As they waited for the Savior to return, the disciples taught the multitude what Jesus had taught the previous day. The record then says they knelt and prayed “for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost [would] be given unto them.” Consider for a moment how significant that is—they were anxiously anticipating the promised return of the Savior, but they did not pray for that. Having been taught by the perfect teacher and then by His chosen disciples, what they most desired was the gift of the Holy Ghost. This intense, overarching spiritual desire is a vital key to receiving this gift.
Righteously Participating in Ordinances
- Returning to the scene in the Book of Mormon, we discover another key. After pleading in prayer for the gift they most desired, the Holy Ghost, the disciples went down into the water and were baptized. “And it came to pass when they were all baptized … the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” The ordinance of baptism serves as a physical witness of our commitment to remember and obey, our willingness to take Christ’s name upon us, and our desire to receive the Holy Ghost.
- 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. 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.
Brother Douglas outlines the precious gift that we have in the Holy Ghost. He shares ways that we can have the Spirit more in our lives. As I have included a daily conference talk in my daily study for the past 10 months, I have seen an increase in my faith. I have felt the presence of the Spirit more in my life. I have felt an increased desire to change my life and to do things that are more in line with the things that I have studied. Today marks our 300th blog entry. I have felt the amazing love that God has for me and His children on this journey. I have made this a part of my daily life and I know that there are many we have taken this journey with me. Thank you for your support by reading the posts daily. I have learned so much and am daily, trying to learn more about being a better disciple of the Savior. Please encourage your friends and family to take this journey with us. As we share the message of General Conference together, I know that our faith will increase, our desire to change for the better will be intensified, and the love that the Savior has for us will be felt on a daily basis. Please join me on the journey of another 300 blog posts in the future.