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The Spirit of Christmas

Area Leadership Message

Elder Boutoille
By Elder Patrick Boutoille, France Area Seventy


Isn’t the Christmas period wonderful?

Everyone’s heart seems to soften, and kindness takes a more important place in our lives.  It is a period when we take more time to express our love for our family, our parents and our friends.

The world in general is also very busy with the buzz of presents, good dinners and various invitations.  And if we are not careful that can also be the only importance Christmas has for us.

As disciples of Christ, we need to look for what constitutes the true Spirit of Christmas. 

I love President Howard W. Hunter’s invitation1:

“If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that his spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve him and keep his commandments. He will take you by the hand and his promises will be kept.”

“If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees—alone or with loved ones—give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that his spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve him and keep his commandments. He will take you by the hand and his promises will be kept.”

That invitation should cause us to reflect on the way we want to prepare things at the end of this year.

I remember the Christmases of my childhood. They were simple, happy and family-oriented.

I also remember being very touched by my first Christmas on my mission in England.  My Swedish companion, Elder Nilsson, and I decided to reserve our evening for doing good to those around us.  On that Christmas Eve we visited a member in hospital, tried to bring joy to sad people on the streets, and give little presents to people who got only little attention.

Ringing the doorbell and then hiding to be able to watch the joyful faces of those who opened the door, filled us with gratitude.  It was cold that evening, but our hearts burned within us…

Later, my wife and I wanted to establish a family Christmas tradition:

On Christmas Eve, together with our children, and the missionaries when they can, we love to prepare biscuits, chocolates and candies.  We sing Christmas carols in several parts and then we plan the end of our day.  Then we go and visit members and neighbors and sing the wonderful Christmas tunes with their touching words, giving them our candies. 

Some years ago, we went to an acquaintance of my wife.  Her state of health was irredeemably declining. I didn’t know her personally, but when we started to sing I saw her face light up and I was able to detect a few moments of joy in her so difficult situation.  Tears of gratitude rolled down her cheeks.

These sacred moments for our family help us to remember the words of Isaiah:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”2

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

“May we, through simple acts of kindness, charity, and compassion, fill the world with the light of His love and healing power.”3

I testify that Jesus is the Christ, that He is the Saviour of all mankind. His love for us is immense. 

I pray that each of us may organize ourselves and prepare in order to feel the true Spirit of Christmas. 


1.  Liahona, December 2015, Howard W. Hunter, 14th President of the Church

“The Real Christmas”

2. Isaiah 9:5

3. Liahona, December 2014, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency

“Fill the world with the love of Christ”