Light. What is light? A light bulb? Energy? Opposite of dark? A feeling? A person? Perhaps light is all of these. Dictionary definitions include electromagnetic radiation that we perceive with the human eye and is described with wavelengths and frequencies properties. The sun is a source of light. Sunlight powers green plants, warms the earth, and causes weather patterns. Fire warms us on cold nights. Electricity lights our homes during dark winter months. Batteries power the headlights of our cars and our flashlights.
Another definition of light in a spiritual sense: illumination, intelligence, truth, a source of goodness and kindness and the opposite of darkness or despair. Our church has been offering a Light the World (#LightTheWorld) invitation the past few years in the month of December. Each day in December we are encouraged to do an act that Lights the World around us. In the month-long LightTheWorld challenge we are encouraged to light the world around us one by one. One community member to another, one family member to another, one stranger to another. As a human, we are not a battery, an electrical generator, or a source like the sun, but we can be a light.
How do we light the world around us?
By being a source of illumination, truth, goodness, and kindness. We can touch hearts, change lives, comfort others, do small acts of kindness, practice patience, smile at strangers, give thanks, send a kind note, recognize others efforts, support a neighbor, be a part of something good, bake a cookie for a friend, donate to a good cause, speak some words of hope, pay a good deed forward, share a good book, learn about an ancestor, pray, sing, honor a loved one, share a peaceful picture or photo, write down an inspirational story, send a card to a senior, spend time with a child, read the scriptures, express your gratitude to God and light the world with small acts every day and every moment.
In their 2020 Christmas message to the world, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints included these words: “The true spirit of Christmas is in the call of Jesus to ‘love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12).’” In the Book of Mormon, in Alma a prophet writes that “whatsoever is Light, is good.” Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
It doesn’t have to happen just during December. We can each light the world all year, as we strive to emit light and serve others every day. As the world wades thru this COVID-19 Pandemic, as we each look forward to the future, let light give us hope. Hope in good things. Let our light of good works shine around us and make us a better family, neighbor, community, and world. #LightTheWorld, one by one.
• Donna Leigh is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Living and Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.