Latter-day Saints in Cache Valley are enthusiastically embracing the “Light The World One by One” program by receiving daily text or e-mail prompts and organizing other church activities.
The program, now in its fourth year, is aimed at celebrating and sharing the message of Jesus Christ, who the Bible declares in John 8:12 is the “light of the world.” President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has invited people all over the world to spread that message through #LightTheWorld.
“One way to continue to express gratitude during the Christmas season is through Christlike service with an invitation to #LightTheWorld by loving and serving others, one by one,” President Nelson said.
The global effort to celebrate the birth of Jesus is an invitation to transform Christmas into a season of service, to do the things Jesus is said to have done, such as visiting the sick, comforting the lonely, feeding the hungry, and showing kindness to everyone. On its website, the church introduces the program with the well-known words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: “Ye are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men … and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
To let their light shine as a community, the Weston 1st Ward in Weston, Idaho, ushered in the beginning of the Christmas season by hosting their annual Christmas party on the first day of #LightTheWorld, Tuesday, Dec. 1, with a live Nativity featuring sheep, cows and a donkey — all borrowed from neighbors — plus a camel owned by Jackson Smith in Lewiston, Utah. The celebration ended with fireworks.
“We wanted to be able to continue the theme of our annual ward party as in years past to focus on Christ as the light of the world plus trying to find something COVID-compliant that people could join together and to do it safely from their vehicles,” said Bishop Ben Gittins. “The fact that the party was scheduled on the same day as the first day of ‘Light The World’ was perfect for our celebration. Everyone came together to serve to make it happen smoothly from the drive-through greeting by the Bishopric handing out a booklet about Christ, a coloring activity handed out for the Primary children, a hot meal of chicken tenders, the Nativity with the young women reading scriptures about that night, and ending with a bang — the fireworks to represent that Jesus is the light of the world.”
A calendar of 25 ways to serve others can be downloaded and referred to on a daily basis to look for opportunities to light the world. New this year, the Primary General Presidency is inviting Latter-day Saint children to download their calendar to “LightTheWorld.”
Cache Valley church members became immediately involved on the opening day of the calendar, which was themed “Day 1 Giving Tuesday: Give like Jesus did. Make a donation to charity or volunteer with a local nonprofit and post online so others can participate.”
A Cache Valley resident explained that she watched this year for the start of the program since she did some of the suggestions last year and enjoyed the growth from doing it.
“So, this year I looked for it,” she said. “When I saw Day 1 was Giving Tuesday, I knew what I wanted to do.” She loves to support the Christian United for Israel and has been donating to them for years. This year to continue that support, she posted a donation link on her LightTheWorld site for others to also donate.
Here’s a sample of some other Cache Valley contributions through the rest of the week:
• “Day 2 Hero Highlight: Who represents Christlike love to you? Highlight them on social media.”
Helen Anderson of Paradise posted a family photo along with the following tribute on her Facebook page: “The first people I thought of popped into my mind. I love my siblings. Four of them are especially heroes today because they are nurses. I appreciate the risks they take to help others.”
Another post for Day 2 Hero Highlight was by Elizabeth Bunce Brown of Hyrum, who receives a daily text prompt on her phone to see what is on the calendar to do for that day.
Along with posting several photos, Elizabeth wrote about her father, Gary Bunce, who is a police officer.
“I didn’t have a second thought on who my hero is. My dad is a hero in so many different ways. He’s there for any and everyone who needs him, his family, fellow officers, friends, or complete strangers. He’s compassionate to everyone he meets including animals. My little son says he wants to be like grandpa … I’d be proud if he grew up to be just like my dad … especially for his Christlike love. I’m thankful every day for my favorite hero, both on the job and at home.”
When seeing the post that his daughter put on Facebook, Gary Bunce said: “That was the first thing that I saw when I opened Facebook that night. It was such a great thing for me to see at the end of my work day. It made me feel so good to see such a tribute. It was something I needed to see that day.”
• “Day 3 Peace on Earth: Help others feel peace as Jesus did. Post a photo or video to social media that brings you peace and calm.”
NaLyn Nelson of Hyrum posted her thoughts along with a song, “There is Peace in Christ,” which she felt is a song that is perfect for right now.
“This is my third year to follow the Light The World. I get the daily prompt,” NaLyn said. “When I saw Day 3 asking what gives you peace, I knew immediately how I would answer. ‘I find peace in Christ’ because in my life I turn to Christ. That’s where I get my peace. I know He’s in charge and I’m not afraid.”
• “Day 4 The Christ Child: Jesus’s birth brought hope. Watch ‘The Christ Child,’ screenshot a moment that gives you hope and share why on social media.”
Nancy McNeal of Nibley knew about Light The World last year but admits that she only did it randomly. She said President Nelson’s appeal to church members this year was a catalyst for her to get more involved.
“I wanted to be diligent in doing it also as President Nelson asked,” Nancy said. “I read the messages from others who post them all over the world that touch my heart. I, too, want to touch the hearts of those that I know and love by posting my thoughts that I know that Jesus is the light of the world. I am motivated to participate in LightTheWorld! I had been doing the first few days unintentionally on my own but now I post on Facebook!”
• “Day 5 Pay It Backwards: “Show gratitude like Jesus did. Think of someone who served you and return the favor.”
Kelley Chambers of Smithfield looks at her text prompt every day. When she saw “Pay it Backwards” she immediately thought of her husband, Greg.
“Greg is so caring and compassionate to me. He takes care of me. He is patient with me,” she said. “Today this prompt inspired me to be more like my Savior showing gratitude for Greg and all that he does for me.” Kelley started Light The World four years ago.
“Doing LightTheWorld lifts my spirits, and I look forward to doing it every day,” she said.
Even though the LightTheWorld is ongoing, you can still sign up for daily service prompts during #LightTheWorld by Text LIGHT to 71234 or sign up with your e-mail that can still be received starting today, Saturday, Dec. 12, continuing until Saturday, Dec. 26.