The Christmas season is upon us once more. Tinsel and flashing lights crowd evergreen trees, carols fill the air, shops and malls are crowded with people who seem to be jubilant in their expectation of a joyous Christmas Day. These are the days when memories are made and so I pause to ponder what memories I will help make for those around me. They must surely go beyond a plastic toy, a new shirt, an intriguing novel or a favorite food. Lasting memories are those that touch your soul and the souls of others.
In my travels through the Pacific, I have sensed that many strive to make every day Christmas Day. I see members of the Church who add joy to the lives of others as they minister to them in a higher and holier way. Meals are made, lawns cut, hands held, and reassurances given and thereby lives are blessed. In this season of service, it is good to consider some simple principles about ministering to others in every season.1 Below are five of those principles that have impacted on me:
President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “You can’t serve well those you don’t know well.” If you don’t already know those you have been called to minister to, now is the perfect season. If you think you know them well, determine to get to know them even better.
A relationship takes time to develop so visit often with those you are called to minister to. Use whatever means make sense—such as email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, phone calls, or sending a card to keep in contact. Personal contacts don’t need to be long, but they do need to be genuine.
Building meaningful relationships requires sharing feelings, beliefs, goals, and concerns. By sharing day-to-day events and life’s challenges with each other as guided by the Spirit, we gain appreciation for each other.
When you listen carefully, your opportunity to help others come unto Christ increases. As you gain understanding and insight into their needs, they feel loved, understood, and safe.
When those we minister to feel our genuine love through our acts of service, it can soften hearts and increase love and trust. How very grateful I have been for those small acts of service that have been done for me. While they may have seemed small to the giver, as the recipient I was lifted and strengthened. As our service brings others to the ordinances of the priesthood, we bless their lives.
In the 25th chapter of Matthew we read:
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:34-40).
My prayer this festive season is that we will be reminded as we look all around that we are all in need and that many of those needs will be met as we become true ministers to others. Surely giving of ourselves is the great lesson of our Redeemer this Christmas season for He gave His life that we might be receivers of life eternal.
Merry Christmas to one and all.