“Your Christmas Mission: Light the World One by One,” Ensign, December 2019
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, as we scurry about buying gifts and hanging tinsel, it can be easy to forget what we’re celebrating in the first place.
Jesus Christ. The Son of God. The Savior of the world—who descended below all things to offer Himself a sacrifice for sin (see 1 Nephi 11:16; 2 Nephi 2:7; Doctrine and Covenants 88:6; 122:8). He is the reason for the season. And one of the greatest ways we can honor Him and celebrate His birth is to emulate Him and serve those around us just as He would.
Lovingly, kindly, one by one.
As He told the Nephites, “Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do” (3 Nephi 18:24).
To help us do just that, the Church has launched a new Light the World initiative for 2019 with exciting new ways for us to bless others, both in our immediate circle and across the globe.
To remind the world of the miracle of Christ’s birth and to give members an opportunity to share the Christmas message, the Church has produced a new film, about 18 minutes long, titled The Christ Child, released on November 24.
Shot through the eyes of those who experienced the sacred events surrounding Christ’s birth, the film is a powerful witness of Christ’s divinity.
Working in consultation with scholars, the filmmakers behind The Christ Child included several possible cultural and historical details in the film in addition to the details found in the scriptures.
To make the most of this new cinematic experience, invite someone to come and see the film in your home and consider sharing it on social media. The Christ Child can be streamed or downloaded at LightTheWorld.org and is a perfect way to celebrate the Savior’s birth with friends and family of other faiths.
If you sign up for alerts at LightTheWorld.org, you can receive daily text and email prompts starting December 1. These daily prompts provide ideas for serving those around you, one by one. You can decide to try all of the ideas or just the ones that inspire you. Sample service prompts include: “Cheer someone on! Make plans to attend an event to support someone you know,” and “Make a list of all the things a mentor or teacher has done for you. Send it to them with a note of thanks.”
Remember: it’s not about checking off a list of service ideas; it’s about finding ways to bless those around you as Christ did, one by one.
Check out the “How It Works” video on LightTheWorld.org to learn how quick and easy it is to sign up. Or, if you prefer, download and print the 25-day service calendar and post it in your home.
As you consider these service prompts, watch for ideas that can include others, and invite your friends, family, and neighbors of other faiths to come and help. Then share your experiences on social media with the hashtag #LightTheWorld.
One of the culminating Christmas experiences of every member of the Church happens in sacrament meeting, as we sing praises to the Savior, partake of the sacrament to remember Him, and hear the beautiful messages of His gospel.
While we should invite others to come and join us every week, Christmas provides a unique opportunity to invite someone to come and worship with us on December 22. Perhaps your invitation is all that a friend, colleague, or acquaintance needs to come and see what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is all about.
If you already have someone in mind, follow that prompting and act. If you’re drawing a blank, prayerfully consider some of the people in your day-to-day life whom you can lovingly invite to come and see.
If the person doesn’t live near you, make sure to direct them to the Church location tool found on LightTheWorld.org, where they can enter their address or zip code to find a special worship service near them. Then, with the person’s permission, use the referral feature in Member Tools to give the missionaries in the person’s area a heads-up that they may be coming to church.
To help everyone feel welcome at church:
Reassure guests that visitors and questions are always welcome.
If your guest is apprehensive, share the resources about attending worship services found on LightTheWorld.org to help them feel at ease.
Offer a friendly smile and hello to everyone who walks through the door.
For Church leaders: Center the service on Christ. Select songs and sermons that focus on the Savior, invite the Spirit, and edify all.
For additional ideas, see “5 Do’s (and 2 Don’ts) When Inviting Friends to Church” (digital-only article), Ensign, Dec. 2018 (found online or in the Gospel Library app).
You’ve no doubt bought a candy bar from a vending machine before. But have you ever used a vending machine to buy a live chicken? or a pair of shoes for someone in need? or a soccer ball for an impoverished child? That’s the genius behind the Church’s Giving Machines—vending machines with a Christmas twist.
Located in select cities in the United States, Great Britain, and the Philippines, Giving Machines contain a variety of charitable contributions to choose from. These items and services, determined and requested by local and global charity partners, include livestock, like goats and chickens; clothing and household needs; nutrition and meals; and educational and recreational materials. Last year, the Giving Machines collected more than $2 million in donations in 38 days.
Using the machines is easy, and 100 percent of donations will be used to purchase the items donors select (or similar items or services of greater need). If there isn’t a Giving Machine located near you, prayerfully consider donating to other charities in your area or at LatterDaySaintCharities.org.
The service prompts from this year’s Light the World initiative provide great ways to serve others around you, but you don’t have to stop there. The Holy Ghost can prompt you to bless and serve others in unique ways only you can, so if you get a spiritual prompting, follow it. Serve, lift, and love just as the Savior would.
One by one.
Speaking of this year’s initiative, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 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. Share with them the suggested ways in which they might serve others one by one. Invite them to come and see; encourage them to come and help. God will do His saving work, and they will come and stay.”