President Thomas S. Monson said, “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord our God with all our heart and our neighbours as ourselves.”[i] The Savior lived a life of service to others and the Christmas season is a perfect time for us to minister to others.
President Monson also said, “My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Real joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the World, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these … ye have done it unto me.”[ii] What better time to find someone who needs our ministering hands and hearts than this Christmas.
If we open our eyes and hearts we can find someone to bless with our kindness during this special season. We can pray for inspiration about whom we should help. It may be a refugee, a neighbour, a member of your ward or branch, or a family member.
We can also pray for inspiration for how best to help. Someone may need a friend and we can be that friend. We may help someone who is lonely and needs some of our time. We may be able to bless someone who is struggling with the illness or death of a loved one. Someone may have financial challenges and we may be able to help a family enjoy some simple gifts for Christmas. We may find someone who has physical or emotional challenges and would be lifted by friendship, love and service.
The ministering we offer may be simple and not seem heroic to us, but can still have a lasting impact. My first Christmas away from home was as a missionary in Norway. I had been in the country for about two months that December. I missed my family and our Christmas traditions. A member family was kind enough to reach out to my companion and me and invite us to spend Christmas Eve with their family. This family didn’t have a lot of money, but they had a number of beautiful children excited about Christmas. They were generous enough to share their delicious meal with us and to allow us to join in their Christmas celebration. They even gave each of us a simple Christmas gift. The kindness they showed over 40 years ago is a precious memory to me.
President Howard W. Hunter gave us a number of ideas of things we could do at Christmastime. Notice how many of these suggestions involve blessing other people:
This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.[iii]
At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, our Savior. Let us reach out, as He would, to those who need to feel His love at this special time of year.