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How the 'Light the World' campaign is changing this Christmas

For the third year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is encouraging members to #LightTheWorld with simple acts of service and Christlike love during the 2018 Christmas season.

The 2018 theme, “Light The World, Give as He Gave,” is influenced by President Russell M. Nelson’s call to minister in “new, holier ways.”

“The emphasis the past two years has been on how can I serve. With President Nelson’s invitation to minister, we’ve adjusted our focus to whom can I serve,” said Greg Droubay of the Missionary Department.

This year’s campaign, detailed at LightTheWorld.org, encourages people to find ways to share with those in need, “helping others in a new way each week.”

“Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, spent much of His ministry caring for individuals, one by one,” according to the Light The World website. “Join us this Christmas as we follow His example and find ways to share our time, love and resources with those in need.”

Worldwide day of service

Kicking off the season is a worldwide day of service on Dec. 1, as Latter-day Saints worldwide are encouraged to do simple acts of service in their neighborhoods and communities. Members are encouraged to use JustServe.org (where available) or to contact local charities to find simple service opportunities.

Weekly calendar

Rather than giving a specific challenge for each day of December leading up to Christmas, this year’s calendar provides a list of ideas for each week and includes space for individuals and families to come up with ideas on their own. It includes four weekly themes and videos: “light the world,” “light your community,” “light your family” and, finally, “light your faith.”

A calendar provides ideas for this year's Light the World campaign.
A calendar provides ideas for this year's Light the World campaign. Photo: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The first week focuses on ways to serve others in need globally. It offers ideas such as “listen to a refugee’s story — see if there are ways you can help,” or invites individuals and families to sacrifice the cost of a “favorite meal” to feed the hungry. Another idea is to donate old phones, watches or electronics to charities.

The second week focuses on finding ways to reach out and serve in the community. Ideas include asking an elderly person about some of his or her life experiences or inviting a widow or widower over to one’s home to eat dinner. People of all ages are able to follow the prompt of eating lunch with someone new at school or work.

The third week encourages a person to “show love to those closest to you.” Prompts include calling — not texting — parents and loved ones or working together as a family on chores.

Week four focuses on increasing one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Many of the ideas are simple and personal, providing opportunities for a person to focus on the Savior. One idea is a goal of having kneeling prayer every morning for the week; another includes setting an alarm to wake up 15 minutes early for scripture study.

“Big or small, a simple act can spread the light of Jesus Christ,” according to the Light The World materials.

For more service ideas, see the downloadable advent calendar.

Giving machines

Returning this year are the popular Light the World giving machines. These vending machines symbolically illustrate how easy it is to donate to charities by allowing donors to instantly give instead of receive.

“They’re vending machines with a Christmas twist,” according to the Light The World website. “When you use the Giving Machines, giving as Jesus gave is both simple and meaningful.”

People around the world will again #LightTheWorld with the Church's campaign promoting service to "Give as He gave."
People around the world will again #LightTheWorld with the Church's campaign promoting service to "Give as He gave." Photo: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Using credit cards, a person can purchase representations of items like a goat, a chicken, socks, a new pair of school shoes, an eye exam, clean water, baby supplies, first aid kits, medication and food. After the purchase is complete, the machine vends the item into a bin at the bottom. These donations, and the money used to purchase them, are then distributed to charity partners like CARE, UNICEF, WaterAid and Water for People.

This year the vending machines have expanded to more locations than downtown Salt Lake City. Light the World giving machines will be located in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City; at the Water Tower Plaza in Gilbert, Arizona; in Manhattan outside the temple; at the Hyde Park chapel and visitors’ center in London, England; and inside the SW Megamall in Manila, Philippines.

For those unable to make it to a giving machine, visit LightTheWorld.org to learn about and donate to the charities involved. According to the website, "100 percent of your donation will be used for the purchased item or for items or services of greater need as determined by the applicable charitable organization. Administrative costs for this campaign and costs associated with its nonprofit partners are covered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Special sacrament meeting

On Dec. 23 members and missionaries around the world are encouraged to invite people who are not members of the Church to attend a special Christ-centered sacrament meeting that will focus on the birth of Jesus Christ with appropriate messages and Christmas music.

“By following the Light of the World, your faith in Jesus Christ will grow brighter and brighter,” according to the website.

Learn more now at LightTheWorld.org, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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