It seems appropriate that the Christmas holiday season should closely follow Thanksgiving. Christmas is a time when we give gifts to family and friends as an expression of our thankfulness for them, and as a symbol of the gifts given to Jesus by the Three Wise Men at the time of His birth.
At this time of year, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and what He can do and does for each of us who will accept Him as savior and try to live the best life we can. Christmas time is truly a time of thanksgiving.
Immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday each year, there is a rush to stores to purchase gifts for Christmas. Advertisements try to catch our eye by displaying the latest products and innovations for our needs or desires. To put us in the shopping mood, Christmas music is heard throughout the stores displaying their wares.
In this hustle and bustle, one can forget that Charity is the true gift we should be striving to give. As found in 1 Corinthians 13:8 “Charity never faileth...” Charity is the pure love of Christ. Charity is the giving of yourself.
When we examine the life of the Savior he was always giving. He gave food to the hungry; lifted up the downtrodden; healed the sick and provided guidance and hope to a world in need. After 2,000 years, the teachings of the Son of God still bring peace, hope and happiness to those who will follow Him. He gave his all — even sacrificing his life — and yet received so little.
At Christmas time we often are looking for the perfect gift. How often have you heard someone say, “What do you give to a person who has everything?” No one, though, has everything, except God. So what do you give Him?
The only thing we really have to give to God is our love, shown by obedience in keeping his commandments or submitting our “free will” to him. Can we love God without serving him? Sacrificing our wants and needs to help and serve others is the same as service to God. To the rich young man who asked what he should do, Jesus told him to give all he had to the poor, and to “come and follow me.”
If we are looking for opportunities to serve, we need not look far. Service starts at home and can be found in the smallest things. Helping with the dishes, vacuuming, making your bed, are just a few. In our communities there are many who need help with transportation, shopping and yard work. We can comfort others by showing gratitude for what they do for us.
The perfect Christmas gift comes from finding opportunities to give of our time to lift up the young and visit the elderly. By giving the precious gift of our time, we can keep the Christmas season in balance and give thanks to God and his son, Jesus Christ.
Bishop John Wells serves in the Milton-Freewater Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.