Christmas Gifts—Latter-day Saint Style | Hugh W. Pinnock | 1997

Elder Pinnock delivers Christmas "gifts" at BYU, consisting of 12 adages and stories to inspire students and faculty alike to become more like Christ.

This speech was given on December 9, 2020.

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"When Elder F. Enzio Busche was attempting to make a telephone call from Frankfurt, Germany, on December 5, 1995, he accidentally pushed the wrong button and was connected to Elder Dean L. Larsen at 7:00 a.m. Elder Larsen asked how things were going. Elder Busche replied by saying, “It is hard to imagine how much we are learning from our experiences in Russia.” Recently he had visited in Moscow with the mission president there, who had several branches under his direction. He had written to each branch, wanting to know what they were going to do to celebrate Christmas. Each branch president replied except one. Several additional requests to the one were made without results. Finally the mission president contacted the branch president directly about the project and was startled to hear the response, “What is Christmas?”

Each of you knows what Christmas is, but today let us explore the holiday of holidays even more deeply.

I have never before been in a position to deliver an early Christmas gift to so many in one place. That is what I hope to do this morning. If there is a group of young adults anywhere in the world more deserving of a special Christmas gift, I cannot imagine where.

A number of years ago someone began delivering gifts to us by night, leaving them on our front porch about two weeks before Christmas. We didn’t know who it was. When the first gift was discovered, I asked our children to look around the driveway and our front-porch area to see if the card had simply dropped out of the package. They couldn’t find the name of the person who had brought the gift to us. The same thing happened the next day. Within another day or two we figured someone had made our family the focus of the 12 days of Christmas tradition. For almost two weeks prior to Christmas that year, a wonderful young woman dropped off gifts and, in an important way, changed the lives of our children. They were so touched by her generosity and her desire to secretly do such a nice thing that they each have participated in the 12 days of Christmas for others since that time. The holiday season brings memories of her kindness.

I would like to address my remarks this day focusing on 12 presents that I would like to give you. I would prefer to deliver them in person, but that is impossible. If carefully thought about and used, they will keep you on the path of peace and joy today, tomorrow, and perhaps forever. Make this your happiest Christmas!

First Present

Let the gospel of Jesus Christ be your guide, your personal philosophy, and the main determinate of your decision making.

Several years ago a man I had known for 30 years asked if he could come and spend time with me in my office.

I said, “Yes, of course,” and eagerly anticipated his visit.

When we sat down he said something that surprised me. He mentioned that there were several of us who seemed to have things figured out when we were in school many years ago. I asked him who, and he named several of our mutual friends. In each instance they had been people who, at around your age, had determined to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Savior made an interesting statement that only John recorded. We are all familiar with the words “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). But in that same chapter, a few verses later, the Lord said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23). Then he went on to reiterate the most amazing promise for someone like you he had ever made. He said, “And my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). Having the Savior move into your apartment or dorm would, I suppose, somewhat alter your daily behavior. Think for a moment: Could there ever be a greater reward than to be that close to the Father and Son?

Incidentally, my friend has gone on to live the gospel more deeply and thoroughly than ever before and is presently living a somewhat remarkable life because he decided to accept the gift of Jesus Christ in his life.

A lovely lady wrote:

You never know when someone
Might catch a dream from you
Some little thing you say
Or some little thing you do.
Might open up the windows
Of a mind that..."