Many years ago, a bright star appeared in the heavens. We know it was significant enough for wise men to notice, probably because they were familiar with prophecies declaring that a star would appear when the Savior of the world was born. Those men used that star as a guide to find Jesus and his family. I like to think they were overwhelmed with joy, knowing this child would bring salvation to humanity.
In many ways, that bright star symbolizes Jesus and His mission—through Him, it was possible for all people to receive redemption; through living what He taught, all people can find joy and happiness. Jesus’s life and His actions brought greater light to this world than it had ever known.
During this season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we might consider how we can bring additional light to the world as a way to honor the light and hope He brought. In a season of giving, we can give service to those who need it. While reaching outside of ourselves can be difficult sometimes, there is a great joy that comes from serving those around us.
In Charles Dickens’s famous story A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew describes Christmas as a time of year “when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” Sometimes all we need to do it open our hearts and look around us to see how we can help those “fellow-passengers.”
Our service can be a simple as wishing someone in line at the store a “Merry Christmas,” or it could be something more significant. Our community has so many chances to serve this time of year, and if you need help knowing how to serve, consider looking at the opportunities listed at ServeWyoming.org or ask your local church leaders what needs you can help fill.
If you’re interested in a large effort, come to First Christian Church in Casper (520 CY Avenue) on Dec. 16 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to tie blankets for the homeless. In addition, if you would like some service ideas for every day in December until Christmas, visit Christmas.Mormon.org for an advent calendar with daily service ideas.
We may think we have nothing to offer or that our particular skills aren’t of value, but we can be inspired to know how to best help. When speaking of reaching out to those around us, Dieter Uchtdorf recently said, “Doors that seemed shut will open. Those who love and serve God and fellowmen and humbly and actively participate in His work will see wondrous things happen in their lives and in the lives of those they love. Angels will go before them and prepare the way. No matter your position . . . , God will use you, if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness.”
This Christmas, let’s light the world as Jesus did with our kind and generous actions toward those around us. As we do, we can make someone’s life better while filling our own lives with joy.