Elder Andersen encourages focusing on Christ all year, not just at Christmas

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Elder Neil L. Andersen encouraged BYU students to use the Christmastime focus on Christ as a model for their everyday lives in a campus devotional on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

His presentation included a reading of Luke 2 by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, as well as Christmas music by choirs and audience members. Elder Andersen also offered a joyful and fervent testimony of Jesus Christ’s life and sacrifice.

Elder Andersen encourages students to seek after Christ throughout the year during his Dec. 7 devotional. Elder Andersen has served as an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. (Addie Blacker)

“Let us always be valiant in the simple faith that He is who we claim Him to be — the Creator, the long-awaited Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, our Savior and Redeemer,” Elder Andersen said.

He encouraged students to include Christ in their everyday lives, even while distractions around them are increasing. He warned that if people get too much of their information from social media and the internet, they can lose access to hearing the voice of the Spirit.

Elder Andersen played a video of interviews conducted by Brother Brad Wilcox, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, around campus. These interviews showed how people at BYU make time to focus on Christ. In the interview with President Kevin J Worthen, the BYU president said he studies the scriptures and prays every morning before he even looks at his phone. Student responses included studying “The Living Christ,” putting down one’s phone to have better conversations with others and seeking a spiritual experience every day.

“This is a pattern that will strengthen your spiritual foundation not only at Christmastime, but during all of your life,” Elder Andersen said of the students’ dedication to Christ. “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.”

Other good habits he asked students to form include reading the scriptures, making a habit of prayer, making more time to attend the temple and curbing social media use. He encouraged students to “take responsibility for the person we want to become.”

“Let us prepare ourselves each day so the Lord can direct us in helping those who need our attention and our love,” Elder Andersen said. “Christmastime is a wonderful time to solidify the habits we seek for all of our lives.”

He promised that those who sacrifice their time to seek after Christ will feel God’s love and will make more progress in their lives.

“I bless you that as you increase your efforts from now through Christmas, the desire to continue these habits beyond Christmas will stay with you, and your progress as one of the Savior’s disciples will grow,” he said.

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