The Gifts of Christmas

Dove with Leaf

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John A. Widtsoe

"Christmas gifts should be in memory of the divine gift, the life of Jesus Christ.  His gift gave us eternal life: our gifts should enliven with joy those who receive.  His gift was the sacrifice of his earthly life: our gifts should represent personal sacrifices on our part.

"It is easy to give to our own, those whom we love.  Their gladness becomes our joy.  We are not quite so ready to give to others. even if they are in need, for their happiness does not seem so necessary to our happiness.  It appears yet more difficult to give to the Lord, for we are prone to believe that he must give and ask nothing in return.

"We have foolishly reversed the proper order.  Our first gift at Christmas should be to the Lord; next to the friend or stranger by our gate; then, surcharged with the effulgence from such giving, we would enhance the value of our gifts to our very own.  A selfish gift leaves a scar upon the soul, and it is but half a gift." 

(John A. Widtsoe, "The Gifts of Christmas," Ensign, December 1972, p. 4)