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Elder Andersen’s Christmas Message to BYU Students

“Let us prepare ourselves each day so the Lord can direct us in helping those who need our attention and our love.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen’s Christmas message on Tuesday to students at Brigham Young University (BYU) included an invitation to look ahead to the next life.

The Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked students to imagine a hypothetical conversation after death with someone who lived in another century and first heard about and accepted the gospel of Christ only after they died. Perhaps that person would marvel at a BYU student’s blessing to live during a time when the restored gospel of Jesus Christ was on Earth — and to associate with thousands of other likeminded believers on campus.

“While you accept that it was a beautiful time to be on Earth,” Elder Andersen said, “you try to put it into perspective [by saying], ‘No matter what you think, it was not an easy time to follow Jesus Christ. There were distractions and confusion. There was commotion and seductive voices constantly trying to pull us from the truth.’”

How could students say they survived? Elder Andersen pointed to President Russell M. Nelson’s October 2021 general conference address as a guidepost.

“I plead with you … to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord in your life — each and every day,” President Nelson said on October 3, 2021. “‘[The Savior] will lead and guide you in your personal life if you will make time for Him in your life — each and every day.”

Elder Andersen played a six-minute video featuring Brother Brad Wilcox of the Young Men General Presidency (and a BYU professor) interviewing students about how they make time for the Lord.

“What do we learn from these disciples of Christ in the video?” Elder Andersen asked. “We learn that in our world of distractions, complexities and temptations, where we have influences pulling us in every direction, we take responsibility for the person we want to become. Desiring to be a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ is very important to each of us, and to chart our course, we make time for the Lord each and every day. We make prayer a part of each day. We nurture our spirits with the word of the Lord in the scriptures. We find more time for the holy temple, the house of the Lord. We curb some of our social media. … Let us prepare ourselves each day so the Lord can direct us in helping those who need our attention and our love. Christmastime is a wonderful time to solidify the habits we seek for all of our lives.”

Brigham Young University students listen to a devotional address from Elder Neil L. Andersen in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on December 7, 2021.Photo Courtesy of BYU
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Elder Andersen concluded with an extended testimony of Jesus Christ. “He who was the greatest came to Earth without honor or applause. He showed us how to live,” Elder Andersen said. “He taught us to become as a child, to reach beyond this world to our Father for help. He taught us to discipline ourselves, to be concerned not only with our acts but with our thoughts. He taught us how to love. He taught us to strive to become ‘even as [He is].’ … He bids us to come unto Him that He might heal us and prepare us for the eternity that awaits us. As we celebrate this season of Christmas, I pray that we will make time for Him each and every day.”

Elder Andersen’s full devotional remarks can be viewed on demand at byutv.org.

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