During this most beautiful season of the year, our minds and hearts are beckoned to recall that blessed morning when Mary brought forth the Son of God, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.¹ Our minds and hearts are stirred in wonderment as we listen to inspired music of the season causing us to envision the Spirit in the air as a host of heavenly angels declared “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”²
On that sacred morning in the meridian of time, the Only Begotten Son of God entered the world to bring a message of light, hope and love. He would later declare “I am the light and the life of the world.”³ The spirit of this Christmas season infuses in each of us a greater portion of His light enabling us to see as He sees and to hear as He hears. As His light fills our hearts, a charitable desire to love and serve others grows within.⁴ Just as the Savior ministered one by one, so He taught His disciples, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”⁵
At LightTheWorld.org, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites the world to follow the Savior’s example this Christmas by finding ways to share our time, love and resources with those in need. By searching ways to bless the lives of our fellowmen around the world, in our communities and in our family during the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, the Savior’s light fills our soul with the true joy of this glorious season. The capstone of the Church’s invitation is to light our faith with the promise that, as we follow His example to serve as He served, love as He loved and give as He gave, His light will strengthen and illuminate our faith.
As part of the 2019 Light the World Campaign, the Church will partner with Caritas Manila, UNICEF Philippines, and HERO Foundation, Inc. to place “Light the World Giving Machines,” at a prominent location in Metro Manila. Giving Machines are vending machines that enable a donor to purchase items such as clothing, livestock, medical supplies, meals, educational materials and other items and donate those items to persons in need. During the 2018 Christmas season, donations made through the machines totaled Php 811,810.00 (USD $15,611.72), from a total of 3,327 transactions.6 Please visit the “Light the World Giving Machines” and help us raise more funds so we can help more people. A unique character of this charitable opportunity is that 100% of the donation goes to the poor and those in need.
Lessons taught through the Christmas traditions we establish in our homes and among our family members, though small and simple, are increasingly important in today’s world. The traditions we establish should ingrain strong, unwavering characteristics of goodness in our children that will infuse them with strength to confront the challenges of life. Many years ago, my wife introduced a new Christmas tradition to our family that we have come to cherish. On the first Sunday of each December, we united our efforts to adorn our home with Christmas decorations. We would decorate our Christmas tree, set out other decorations and carefully place our nativity in a prominent location. We then gathered our children around the kitchen table where, one by one, each family member would identify acts of service to bless the lives of other families and friends. By the end of the evening our calendar was filled with ideas grown in the pure recesses of our children’s hearts. The younger children wanted to bake cookies for their primary teachers. Our older sons suggested we hang Christmas lights on the home of a single sister in our ward. During the following week he supervised the gathering of lights and all else we would need to complete the project. The next Saturday morning we arose early and took our ladder and lights to her home. The project was fun, but the light that shone in the countenance of this dear sister as she expressed her gratitude filled our hearts with an unforgettable outpouring of the Lord’s love for her. On another occasion, our children helped to prepare and anonymously deliver a full Christmas feast to a family in need. On yet another occasion, our children gathered NBA basketball jerseys to anonymously deliver on Christmas Eve to a family filled with young boys. Among the miracles we experienced as we performed these simple acts of kindness was a sense of the Lord’s joy and overwhelming love for those whom we served. Indeed, in those moments the Lord granted us the blessing of feeling a portion of His perfect love.
A beautiful miracle accomplished by the spirit of each Christmas season is experienced in the coming together of people across religious lines to celebrate the music, emblems and traditions motivated by the Savior’s perfect life. Prior to receiving my current calling, I enjoyed the blessing in my life to work as an attorney, representing many Christian faiths. I loved the common thread of added reverence for the Savior’s birth, life, ministry and atoning sacrifice that wove its way among the doctrine and practices of the churches I visited during this beautiful season of the year. Nativity scenes and reenactments of the event each church’s calendar enabling all to assemble together and enjoy a feeling of love and unity. As the familiar events recorded in Luke chapter two unfold in these celebrations, they awaken in each person a heightened sense of gratitude for the advent of the Savior’s earthly life over two thousand years ago. In these sacred moments the matters that divide us seem so much less than the Savior’s love that unites us.
In 2015, members of the Washington Fields Utah Stake Council united to invite all members of the stake to gather as families in their home each evening in December to view a different Christmas video on the Church’s website. Each video captures a different element of the Christmas Spirit and evokes tender feelings among family members that contributes to a sense of peace and love within the home. Dozens of inspiring Christmas videos are available at ChurchofJesusChrist.org. To participate in this simple tradition, scroll down to “quick links”, click on “gospel media”, then click “Christmas”.
This beautiful season of the year invites all mankind to personally experience the angel’s declaration of “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” by following the Savior’s example to bless the lives of others.”⁷ May this Christmas be filled with selfless acts of Christlike love as together we strive to emulate the life and teachings of our Savior, who is Christ the Lord.◼︎
1 Luke 2:7
2 Luke 2:14; “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, by https: Felix Mendelshone.
3 3 Nephi 9:18
4 Moroni 7:47
5 Matthew 25:40
6 Mormon Newsroom Release 25 February 2019, “Light The World Giving Machine Raise 800K, Church Turns Over Donation to Charity Partners.”
7 8Luke 2:10