Elder Christopher Charles, Great Britain
My fondest Christmas memories as the youngest of four boys was the time spent with Mum and Dad at home with my brothers and their wives. I was the only single member of the family at that time.
I remember enjoying the chatter, the teasing, the laughter, the games and the delicious Cypriot food - stuffed vine leaves were my favourite! Yet, I cannot remember thinking about the real meaning of Christmas.
Of course, things are different now as we have the true gospel in our lives. My two daughters are grown with husbands of their own and yet still the best moments are those which involve sitting around the table just being together.
And so it is for many as they take the opportunity to renew feelings of love with family at Christmas. Attempts to secularise this time of year, does not seem to have affected that need to be together.
My wife and I served in the Greece Athens Mission between 2009 and 2012. How often we felt the need to do more in serving our fellow men. It was with these feelings that we decided to change our Christmas Day plans. Instead of a day of rest and relaxation, we decided to ask all the missionaries to join with us in serving the membership and investigators in Athens by providing food and a lot of needed love at a time of dire economic upheaval in Greece:
“…..when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God…..“ (Mosiah 2:17)
It was touching to see the missionaries serving so lovingly and not eating themselves until everybody else was filled.
As I circulated among the members, they said that it was not the food that was important to them but the fact that they felt loved.
This is not the end of the story. At one point during the party, I went downstairs and saw a middle aged woman peeking through our glass door in the foyer. I invited her to join us. At first she declined but with encouragement she came in and within a few minutes, it was as if she was an established member enjoying the food and the festivities. It was just so heart-warming!
We were even more thrilled when a year later, we went back to Greece on assignment and she was there on the Sunday. All it took was a simple smile and an invite!
The truth is we cannot, should not let anyone pass us by without an invite. The answer can only be “yes, no or may be” but what if one says “yes”? What if these precious gems of our Heavenly Father actually say yes? We assist in opening the door of eternity for them and how great shall be our joy with them in our Father’s Kingdom.
This is the best time of the year to invite others to come unto Christ because many are happy to come to a carol service or a Christmas party but not what they consider to be a more formal srvice.
As a child, I sat at the table of my mortal father; as a man I sit at the table with my family. Now let others join us to sit at the table of our Heavenly Father. I testify of a Heavenly Father and his Son who only wish for us all to join Them at the feast.
I pray that this article may touch our hearts as the Holy Ghost invites us to act and bring endless Christmases in the gospel to others.