Jesus chose the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles to declare: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12.)
Despite the Savior's declaration of His divinity, many around Him chose to continue in darkness, rather than accept the invitation to journey into the light. Today, Christ's light is available to all who will leave the darkness of sin and despair and accept the Savior's invitation to follow Him.For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit. (D&C 84:45-46.)
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "As His followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing His image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves.
"Our lives must become a symbol of meaningful expression, the symbol of our declaration of our testimony of the living Christ, the Eternal Son of the living God." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 184.)
Once we have ourselves journeyed toward the light of Christ, how can we help lead others from darkness into the light?
Elder George Albert Smith declared: "My understanding is that the most important mission that I have in this life is: first, to keep the commandments of God, as they have been taught to me; and next, to teach them to my Father's children who do not understand them. (Conference Report, October 1916.)
We need the influence of the Spirit to quicken the light within us so we can be receptive to the powers of eternity. If we follow the commandments and the example Christ set in His own life, we will reflect His message to others. The Atonement will work more fully in our lives - and the lives of all men - if we forsake despair for truth.
President Joseph F. Smith counseled, "One fault to be avoided by the Saints, young and old, is the tendency to live on borrowed light, with their own hidden under a bushel. . . .
"Men and women should become settled in the truth, and founded in the knowledge of the gospel, depending upon no person for borrowed or reflected light, but trusting only upon the Holy Spirit. They will then have light everlasting which cannot be obscured. By its shining in their lives, they shall cause others to glorify God; and by their well-doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and show forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light." (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 87-88.)
We should "let the finest things that God has wrought" in us shine forth so we are not guilty of either of the two basic forms of hypocrisy: pretending to be better than we are, or letting ourselves appear worse than we are. (From Elder Harold B. Lee's address at the October 1969 regional representative seminar.)
"A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:14-16.)
President Hinckley remarked, "This entire people have become as a city upon a hill which cannot be hid. The world expects something better of us, and when one of our number falters, the (public) press is quick to to note it. . . .
"Unless the world alters the course of its present trends (and that is not likely); and if, on the other hand, we continue to follow the teachings of the prophets, we shall increasingly become a peculiar and distinctive people of whom the world will take note." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 183.)
Latter-day Saints have a special mission to the world to show forth the light - both the Savior's and their own. The world is wandering to and fro, going from fad to fad, hungering for light and truth. The light of Christ is not a distant star. It cannot be extinguished, except by neglect and individual sin.
If we, as a people, do not let our lights shine forth, the world will remain in darkness, not knowing the brightness of God's goodness and love.