Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace and the Light of the World. He went about doing good, and we can do the same. That is what the magic of Christmas is all about. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is challenging people around the globe to Light the World One by One by serving others as the Savior did. The initiative begins on Dec. 1 and lasts throughout the month. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,
Light the World presents marvelous opportunities to invite friends and neighbors to church and to your homes to learn with you about the Savior. In whatever ways seem natural and normal to you, share with people why Jesus Christ and His Church are important to you.
But this campaign is not limited to members of The Church of Jesus Christ. It’s for everybody. Elder Uchtdorf said,
Christmas and some of the cherished traditions of the season remind us that we, like the Wise Men of old, should seek the Christ and lay before Him the most precious of gifts: a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We should offer Him our love. We should give Him our willingness to take upon ourselves His name and walk in the path of discipleship. We should promise to remember Him always, to emulate His example, and to go about doing good.
The initiative will include daily service prompts, giving machines and a special Sunday service on Dec. 22.
Daily Service Prompts
Participants can sign up to receive daily service prompts either via text or email that will begin on Sunday, Dec. 1. Tom Pratt of the Church’s Missionary Department said,
These prompts are to help you focus not on how can I help, but who can I help. Of course, people can always seek inspiration for the best way to reach out to an individual.
The service can be as simple as sending a text to someone to say hello, playing a game with a child or young person or making a donation to a charity. President Dallin H. Oaks taught,
Our Savior gave Himself in unselfish service. He taught that each of us should follow Him by denying ourselves of selfish interests in order to serve others.
Connecting with others is very important, especially in today’s world. Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson said,
We live in a culture where more and more we are focused on the small, little screen in our hands than we are on the people around us. We have substituted texting and tweeting for actually looking someone in the eye and smiling or, even rarer, having a face-to-face conversation. We are often more concerned with how many followers and likes we have than with putting an arm around a friend and showing love, concern, and tangible interest. As amazing as modern technology can be for spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping us stay connected to family and friends, if we are not vigilant in how we use our personal devices, we too can begin to turn inward and forget that the essence of living the gospel is service.
But we can use the technology to help us reach out to others. To sign up for daily service prompts, click here.
The Church of Jesus Christ is bringing back its popular giving machines this Christmas season through which people can donate to global charities—such as UNICEF, Church World Service, WaterAid, Water For People and International Medical Corps. The machines will be in 10 locations this year—double the number of locations from last year. For locations, click here.
Although Giving Machines offer a convenient way to donate, they are not the only way. Many organizations also have ways to donate money online. During the Christmas season, many organizations collect donations of food and new toys for people in need. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ can also donate fast offerings or to the general humanitarian fund. Fast offerings are monetary donations made by Latter-day Saints. They fast for two meals on Fast Sunday (which is usually the first Sunday of the month) and then donate the money they would have spent on food. President Russell M. Nelson said,
The Church’s humanitarian outreach was launched in 1984. Then a Churchwide fast was held to raise funds to assist those afflicted by a devastating drought in eastern Africa. Church members donated $6.4 million on that single fast day.
Then-Elder M. Russell Ballard and Brother Glenn L. Pace were dispatched to Ethiopia to assess how those consecrated funds could best be used. This effort proved to be the beginning of what would later be known as Latter-day Saint Charities.
Since that time, Latter-day Saint Charities has provided more than two billion dollars in aid to assist those in need throughout the world. This assistance is offered to recipients regardless of their church affiliation, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, or political persuasion.
Special Sunday Christmas Service
Latter-day Saint congregations around the globe will hold special Christmas worship services on Sunday, Dec. 22. Each congregation will hold a one-hour, Christ-centered meeting in celebration of the birth of the Savior. Donations are never requested during worship services. Rather, the meetings focus on the Savior. Who is the reason for the Christmas celebrations. President Gordon B. Hinckley said,
What a glorious season is this time of Christmas. Hearts are softened. Voices are raised in worship. Kindness and mercy are reenthroned as elements in our lives. …
For each of you may this be a merry Christmas. But more importantly, I wish for each of you a time, perhaps only an hour, spent in silent meditation and quiet reflection on the wonder and the majesty of this, the Son of God. Our joy at this season is because He came into the world. The peace that comes from Him, His infinite love which each of us may feel, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that which He freely gave us at so great a cost to Himself—these are of the true essence of Christmas.
President Thomas S. Monson said,
The Christmas season will soon be upon us.
Inevitably, the spirit of Christmas inspires kind deeds, touches human hearts, and prompts one’s mind to reach back to that humble stable in faraway Bethlehem, to a time when the prophecies of the prophets, both in that area and here on the American continent, became a living reality. Christ the Lord was born.
To find locations and schedules for these meetings, click here.
Light the World
This initiative is a way for each one of us to share the spirit of Christmas and the joy of the season. As President Monson said,
… When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning.
There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.
As we rededicate ourselves to following the example that the Savior set, we can help extend the spirit of the season. President Monson said,
The spirit of Christmas is something I hope all of us would have within our hearts and within our lives, not only at this particular season but also throughout the years.
For more information on the Light the World campaign, visit www.LightTheWorld.org. There you can find shareable Christmas videos and images and other resources.