It is the holiday season! A wondrous and special time of year when hearts are softened, snowmen abound and the world becomes a more magical place. There are cozy fires, presents under the tree and cups of hot chocolate. We gather with loved ones and enjoy time with friends. However, we also remember those we may have lost and family and friends too far away to visit. The holidays can be a tough time for some; for others they are bittersweet, and for some, they’re pure joy. Whichever category you fall into, there is one surefire way to have a truly happy holiday: to serve and show charity to your fellow men.
If the holidays bring you joy, what better way to increase that joy than to go and share your Christmas cheer with those who may be less fortunate. If you have children, there is no better way to teach them love, compassion and gratitude than through service.
If you lack the holiday spirit, going out and serving others is the best way to restore that spirit in your life. It will help you recognize your blessings and reaffirm to you all you have to offer those around you.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hosting its second annual Light the World campaign. The campaign provides suggestions for small acts of service each day of December leading up to Christmas. The following are a few examples:
Day 1-“Jesus taught: ‘Freely ye have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). Jesus made it clear that everything we have is a gift freely given from God. We should be grateful for all that we have and be willing to give just as freely to others. What can you sacrifice today to make someone else’s life better? Put down the electronics and spend some quality time with family or a friend. Would someone less fortunate appreciate something you have? Make an anonymous donation to someone who’s struggling to make ends meet. How can you show your gratitude to someone who has positively affected you? Send the person a thoughtful thank you card acknowledging the ways he or she has helped you.”
Day 6- “Jesus taught: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged’ (Mathew 7:1). Only Jesus lived a sinless life. We should show compassion when others make mistakes, and we trust that others will show us compassion when we have been less than perfect. Do you owe someone an apology? Ask for the person’s forgiveness today. Are you having trouble understanding someone else’s perspective? Take time to really listen and try to understand the person’s point of view.”
Day 23- “Jesus taught: ‘I was in prison, and ye came unto me’ (Matthew 25:36). Some prisons are literal, physical institutions, but other “prisons” include physical and mental afflictions, and addictions. Reach out to those who are feeling trapped and let them know they’re not alone. Do you know someone who’s been affected by addiction? Reach out to the person and offer your support and love. Do you have an incarcerated family member or friend? Pay the person a visit, and offer love and encouragement. Have you seen how an illness or depression can trap a loved one? Reach out and go for a walk or have a nice chat with the person.”
Serving others is the quickest way to bring joy into our lives and gain greater love for others. We are blessed here in Juneau to have so many that selflessly serve others. If we all join in and take the time this holiday season to “Light” our portion of “the World,” what a truly happy place our community will be! Please stop by mormon.org to find these and other suggestions on ways you can #LightTheWorld.
• Jacqueline F. Tupou is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Living & Growing” is a reccurring column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.