The First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional was held today, Sunday, December 8, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time.
The program, originating from the Conference Center, included Christmas messages by Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, Elder Patrick Kearon, of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Ulisses Soares, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square provided the music.
History of The First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional
Since at least the early 1970s it was called the “First Presidency Christmas Devotional,” and traditionally had featured a talk from each of the three members of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as Christmas songs performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The devotionals began decades ago as a way to honor church employees. The church eventually started to broadcast the devotionals and later moved them to the 21,000-seat Conference Center.
In 1993, the church’s president, Ezra Taft Benson, who was 94, was unable to attend for health reasons. Neither was his second counselor, President Thomas S. Monson, who was ill.
In that year, President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke.
President Benson died in spring 1994 and since then, the entire First Presidency spoke at each devotional until 2013.
In 2013, however, the name was changed to Christmas Devotional and the name change signaled a change to the program.
“While we anticipate that a member of the First Presidency will participate in the program, it has been decided to give other church leaders the opportunity to speak at the annual Christmas devotional,” church spokesman Cody Craynor said in 2013.
In 2014, the name was changed again, and became the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional and since then the speakers don’t consist anymore solely of members of the First Presidency, but speakers have been pulled from the Presidency of the Seventy, the Relief Society General Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other Church organizations.
2020 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional
Always planning ahead for the future, The First Presidency invites Church members and their friends to participate in the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional broadcast on Sunday, December 6, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time.