The Christmas tradition of giving can be a powerful reminder of the gifts Jesus Christ has freely given the world — repentance, resurrection and a pathway back to our Heavenly Father. The scriptures make it clear that the Savior accomplished this through much tribulation, sacrifice and indescribable suffering, and that He decided to do so voluntarily, long before the world began.
This incredible willingness to accomplish such a remarkable act of love should be at the heart of any meaningful Christmas celebration. The gift that Jesus gave the world through His Atonement can be discerned only through the Spirit. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God," wrote the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2:12).
We cannot repay this gift. All that is asked of us is to obey the commandments and willingly give service to each other.
Put in this context, the annual frenzy to buy the latest gadget or to act with aggression and incivility in pursuit of discounted goods in limited supply seems out of focus. So does the practice, by some, of using consumer debt to buy presents they can't afford.
There is nothing wrong with giving store-bought presents given with love and forethought. But for much of the world, Christmas has come to center on worldly possessions, rather than on a celebration of the birth of one who saved us from the world.