Saturday, December 17, 2016

Simplify Christmas through Service

There is always a lot going on around Christmas time.  From school concerts, class parties, family holiday gatherings and my son's birthday, we don't have much spare time in the month of December.  Then there is Christmas with all the shopping and wrapping and decorating.  Don't get me wrong, I love it all, but this year I've taken a simpler approach.  Maybe it's having 4 kids including a very busy, into everything, toddler or maybe I'm just getting old.  Either way, we aren't doing as much.  There are so many fun activities to do and we just can't do them all.  There is always next year, we don't have to do every holiday tradition or activity this year.  

I've already mentioned how I didn't decorate as much, only setting up the tree and decorating the mantel.  Some other things we aren't doing this year are the Elf on the Shelf.  Actually we didn't do that one last year either since the kids weren't too excited about it the year before.  I think she may come back next year so my toddler can have fun finding her each day, but it may be her last appearance.  Good thing we have a cute little niece to pass her along to.  If you're continuing the tradition of Elf on the Shelf and are in need of ideas, you can see what we've done in years past HERE and HERE.  Or if you're looking for ways to end the tradition check out these ideas HERE.

This year we have not done an advent calendar like we have in years past.  Some years we made our own, other years we bought them.  You can check out our advent calendar ideas and alternatives HERE, and HERE.  Just because we aren't doing an advent calendar doesn't mean we aren't doing something special each day to remember Christ this Christmas season.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has put together a way to help share the light of Christ by following His example.  It's called LIGHT the WORLD and it's about service.  There are 25 ways to serve in the 25 days leading to Christmas.  Each day shares a message about how Jesus served.  There is a short video, a scripture and several ideas of ways to serve according to that theme.  You can find out more at   We've been watching the videos each night with our kids and talking about ways to serve.  It's really put the focus on our Savior and helping others.  And it's so easy, I don't even have to come up with service projects, there are lots of great ideas, from sharing a message on social media to getting involved in the community.  There is something for everyone of every ability to do.  The idea is to be more like our Savior and do service.  It's not to be overwhelming and feel like to have to do one of these things everyday.  Just be mindful of others and look for ways to serve and act on that when you can.  Below is the calendar with each days type of service and ideas for ways to serve.  Below that is a link to all the videos.  

Lift others burdens
Honor parents
Help others see
Worship the Father
Heal the sick
Read the scriptures
Feed the hungry
Pray for others
Visit the lonely
Help others walk
Minister to children
Teach others
Show humility
Clothe the naked
Worship through song
Show compassion
Care for your mother
Honor the Sabbath
Calm the storm
See potential in others
Forgive others
Show gratitude
Be a peacemaker
Care for loved ones
Follow Him

Serving others has made me reflect on why we celebrate Christmas and to realize that spending time with my family is more important than putting up decorations, buying presents and attending Santa events.  I've enjoyed teaching my children the true meaning of Christmas and giving Christ-like service to others.  This is one tradition that I hope we are able to do each year.  Has anyone else been Lighting the World with acts of service this Christmas season?  Would love to hear about your experiences.

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