Around the world, people are doing something each day to share the Savior’s light and love with others as part of the 2022 Light the World campaign.
Elder W. Mark Bassett, a General Authority Seventy and assistant executive director of the Missionary Department, said the 2022 Light the World initiative has three main purposes or focuses:
- To nurture good will.
- To help members share the gospel in normal and natural ways.
- To create positive awareness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The Light the World campaign is really an opportunity to share light with our friends,” he said on the Church News podcast. “In all that we do, we want to remember that is what this is about, and how would the Savior reach out and help people?”
Aaron Hall, director of finding for the Missionary Department, joined Elder Bassett on the podcast to share more behind-the-scenes information about Light the World and its 25 days of kindness.
Unlike years past, this year does not have an official Churchwide calendar of a specific item to do every day. Instead, Hall said the idea was to help members share light in a way that is normal and natural to them, rather than something prescribed each day.
“I think all of us, as we act on principle, and we are desiring to be more like the Savior and do things the Savior would do, then we’ll do things naturally.”
The result is finding out what works for each person individually and what works for the people they love, he said.
People can receive daily messages, daily texts, WhatsApp communication or email for daily prompts — or see a list of 50 ideas of ways to share light. But it is more about following the Spirit to engage with people they love, Hall said.
“Each day you have the opportunity to identify somebody that you love, that you want to serve, and then you choose how you want to serve them,” he added.
And Hall hopes people not only share light with others but notice Christ’s light in their own lives as well.
‘The World Needs Your Light’
Hall said that as organizers pondered what could be done this year for the initiative and launch video — titled, “The World Needs Your Light” — they drew from Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
That’s the spirit of why the video was created like it was this year, “so that we can let our light shine,” Hall said. “I am grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ, who gave us a perfect example of how to share love, and share light, every single day.”
Elder Bassett said that as people shine and share light, they glorify the Father and His Son.
“As we intentionally go out and share light, share goodness and kindness and love, then that naturally — particularly in the season — it turns hearts to the Savior Jesus Christ and remembering Him,” Elder Bassett said.
Hall said local area presidencies of the Church have been able to adapt some of the campaign’s content to meet the needs of their own particular audience as well.
How it’s going so far
This year’s Light the World videos — the launch video and a new one released earlier this week — have tens of thousands of views on Youtube, and some of the previous videos in the Light the World playlist have several million views each.
Hall said well over 100,000 people visited LighttheWorld.org on the official launch date of Dec. 1, with great participation in people signing up for a daily text or email reminder. As of Dec. 8, more than 29,000 people had joined the Official Light the World Facebook Group.
“That [Facebook group] gives people an opportunity to go in and share every day, something that they feel like is helping them ‘Light the World’ with friends, family and neighbors,” Hall said.
Across social media, people have been posting with the hashtag #LightTheWorld. Elder Bassett said this not only allows the topic to trend and reach more people, it is also a way for the initiative organizers to get a sense for how many people are participating around the world.
“I love that people are doing this and participating to focus more on the Savior Jesus Christ during this season where we recognize His birth. In all that we do, we want to remember: That is what this is about,” Elder Bassett said.
The Light the World Giving Machines expanded to 28 locations this year, including new traveling machines spending several days in different cities — one in Arizona and another going to different Southern states in the United States.
The red vending-like machines allow people to purchase something for someone else with the help of participating local and global charities — like animals, school supplies, medical treatments, scholarship programs, clean water and many more options.
Elder Bassett said his family went this past week to the Giving Machines. Even his 18-month-old granddaughter wanted to be involved as she watched the cousins select something.
“She felt special, and she wanted to be involved. And we saw that with all of our adult children and our grandchildren. That it is an opportunity to give and to think outside of yourself and focus on other people.”
Sharing light all year round
While the Light the World initiative runs for 25 days, Hall said it’s more than that — “It is 365 days of service. … It inspires us to do more than just what we are doing during the Christmas season. We really want to share this light all year round.”
Elder Bassett said this goes along with the principle of love, share and invite. “We should always be looking outward and saying this is what we’re doing in our congregation, this is what we are doing in our family. Who do I love that I would want to share this with? And might I invite them to participate? That happens 12 months a year, 365 days.”
People are good and want to do good, Elder Bassett said. “The source of light in the dark world is the Savior Jesus Christ. And He is the solution to this darkness. He is the source of peace, of goodness. And His gospel is what brings light to a darkened world.”