In the 2008 movie version of the classic holiday story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Cindy-Lou Who laments, “Where are you, Christmas? Why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away?” Cindy-Lou loses her holiday spirit for a bit, but as she reaches out to the Grinch they discover that, “Maybe Christmas. . . doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps. . . means a little bit more?”
Several years ago I experienced my own “Grinch” heart-expanding moment when I was given the opportunity to offer aid. In my local congregation, it was my responsibility to help oversee the needs of anyone in our community. We received a phone call about a woman named Karen who was living in a tent under a bridge. It was Christmas and her sister was worried.
Church members rallied together and we were able to help with medical needs, food, firewood, and warm clothes. As I spoke with Karen and helped determine what her needs were, she mentioned that she would love a hot meal. It was Christmas Day, and I knew I could easily provide that wish. I whipped up a batch of au gratin potatoes in an aluminum pan, and packed up some ham from my family meal along with a box full of staples and blankets. I quietly snuck away from my family table and hiked down a snowy bank to Karen’s camp. I could feel how very much she appreciated the efforts for her. She was most excited for the chocolate orange that I stuck into the holiday box at the last minute. I sat with Karen around a fire as she gratefully ate her hot Christmas dinner, and learned of her story. We arranged to continue efforts in her behalf. Karen hugged me and her eyes welled up with tears. I felt the TRUE spirit of Christmas in that moment. It is one of my most special Christmas memories.
As we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, there is a change in the atmosphere as people everywhere think of others and try to be kind. Jesus taught us that charity is the pure love of Christ. When we seek that Christlike attribute we are blessed. We truly have heavenly aid to spread His love to others.
As we seek to lift others it elevates our own spirit. We are blessed with power from on high as we go about trying to minister one by one, as our Savior taught by His loving example. We can seek those out who are in need of something, who feel invisible, who are suffering. This is what I would hope for each of us—that we might be a light to the world.
Thomas Monson consistently lived his life seeking to lift “the one.” He wrote that the followers of Christ should be “as lights in the world.” He taught, “Our opportunities to shine are limitless. They surround us each day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of those around us—whether they be our own family members, our coworkers, mere acquaintances, or total strangers.”
We can #LightTheWorld. We can lift the world one by one, as we seek the Spirit and follow Christ’s loving example. We can respond to impressions we receive. We can increase our offerings. We can do more. We can give as He gave. When our hearts are filled with charity—which is the pure love of Christ, we partner with the Savior of the world. May we be blessed to find and lift those who need it most, and feel God’s light in our lives.