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Making Christmas Less About Gifts and More About Christ

 

 

Where are the presents in Christmas?

We are bombarded with advertisements and shopping opportunities telling us that we need to give our loved ones that one perfect (and typically expensive) gift that will make their Christmas amazing. Where did we go wrong?

Christmastime Past

When I was a kid, I remember how Christmastime brought with it a special warmth and a special sense of unity among people. It was joyful. Now, I look around me and instead of that peacefulness, we are bombarded with advertisements and shopping opportunities telling us that we need to give our loved ones that one perfect (and typically expensive) gift that will make their Christmas amazing. Where did we go wrong?

I admit that I love all things Christmas especially seeing wrapped packages under the Christmas tree but when I am focusing more on the presents than the true reason we celebrate, my family loses out on a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to the Savior.

Light the World

The Church has placed an emphasis on the “Light the World” program, meaning that we can share the Savior’s light by doing the things He would do if He were physically among us.  No one person can save the world, but we can give light to one person at a time.

I am starting a new tradition this year. I am filling 24 boxes with a different idea for service. Each day, my kids can open one box together and choose a way to serve using the suggestion inside. Here are just a few of those ideas:

*find an elderly person who needs yard work (or snow removal)

*bake something for a neighbor

*help someone with their groceries or return a shopping cart at the store for someone

*identify someone who has served in the military (by uniform, tags, or hat) and shake their hand for their service

 

*decorate someone’s door as a surprise

*leave a quarter in the grocery cart for its rental (certain stores) or leave some extra re-useable grocery bags for someone else

*go Christmas caroling at a senior center

*share a talent with someone else

*invite a new friend over for a fun family activity

*pick a name from an angel tree or giving tree

*recognize people who seem sad or lonely, send a note or visit

*return electric shopping carts to the store to charge for those who need extra help getting around

*read a book or magazine to someone in a senior center

*thank someone who normally doesn’t get thanked for a job well done (we chose the team in charge of our garbage collection)

There are countless opportunities to spread your light and to help our brothers and sisters feel loved. The Lord will lead us to someone who needs cheering if we only ask for direction. What better way to lead up to Christmas than by spreading the Savior’s kind of love?

President Thomas S. Monson said of Christmas, “Let it be a time that lights the eyes of children and puts laughter on their lips. Let it be a time for lifting the lives of those who live in loneliness. Let it be a time for calling our families together, for feeling a closeness to those who are near to us and a closeness also to those who are absent.

“Let it be a time of prayers for peace, for the preservation of free principles, and for the protection of those who are far from us. Let it be a time of forgetting self and finding time for others. Let it be a time for discarding the meaningless and for stressing the true values. Let it be a time of peace because we have found peace in His teachings.

“Most of all, let it be a time to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds and the worship of the Wise Men.”1

May we each hold the Savior dearer in our hearts as we go out and “Light the World” this year!

President Thomas S. Monson, “A Bright Shining Star”, First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 5, 2010

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