It’s that time of year again. I’ve always enjoyed the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, and this year was no exception, especially the music. MoTab is always great, but for some reason the orchestra really touched me this year.
I reflected on how President Hinckley had introduced the orchestra in selected MoTab performances and thought to myself, “Thank God for President Hinckley!”
The speakers were also wonderful, in part because they were surprising. I expected each member of the First Presidency to speak, but that didn’t happen. Then I expected that at the end the Prophet would want to address everyone, but that didn’t happen either. I’m not disappointed, just surprised (and pleasantly so) with the departure from my expectations.
One expectation that was met, however, was the quality of the messages provided. If you missed the program or want a refresher, you can watch the 2014 First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional here. A theme I noticed among the various speakers was reference to stories of people who through their example shared the joy of the Christmas holiday with others.
That got me thinking.
We need to be “writing” our own Christmas stories that get passed down through the generations. Our example should inspire others to retell that story of our example time and time again.
Clearly this is a high standard. And the best way to meet that is to partner with the Lord and follow the Spirit.
Partner with the Lord
The most influential examples are often the ones that escape our awareness. So you can’t really plan to meet the standard of being so influential that people tell stories about what you did for them.
But you can partner with the Lord and allow Him to guide you by the Spirit to those persons who you can influence for good. And the stories they tell of your goodness will inspire countless others for generations to come.
Though you may never hear those stories, you will receive blessings from the Lord for your generous contribution.
Partnering with the Lord really is the only way you can meet the high standard of inspiring others to pass stories of your good example through the generations. Sometimes we just don’t know people as well as we think. But the Lord knows each of us individually. He knows what will be most meaningful to each person.
When you partner with Him, He will guide you to act in the very ways that will be most meaningful to someone that you can touch more effectively than anyone else.
And when someone is really touched by your good example, they’ll want to tell that story with others. When you really touch one, you really touch many.
Follow the Spirit
I remember from my full-time-missionary days that follow the Spirit seemed to be the answer for everything.
That’s because there’s some truth to that. The Spirit will teach us what we need to do, when we need to do it, who we need to do it for, and who we need to invite to join with us. The Christmas season is a season of giving. And in the true spirit of giving, we shouldn’t hoard all the giving to ourselves.
Part of following the Spirit is letting go of our inhibitions. It’s human nature to dismiss what seems insignificant or incomprehensible. But we need to rise above the natural man and just do whatever the Spirit prompts us to do. Leave the details of how everything works out to God.
Life is more fully lived and our discipleship more fruitful when we let go of our “need” to see how everything is connected. We don’t need to understand the whole plan before we take the first step. That’s what it means to walk by faith.
When we walk by faith, we simply take the steps without understanding how it all fits together but also trusting that He Who created all things does see how it all fits together and is guiding us according to that plan.
We best celebrate the Christmas season when we live it. God gave us the gift of His Son, and because of Him we all can have newness of life. By sharing that hope with others, we increase the hope within ourselves. And God blesses us with newness of life.
No matter how silly or small it may seem, when you get a prompting or even an idea in your mind to do something good for someone else, do it. Develop the habit of doing whatever good enters your thoughts. Trust in God that it will all work out. You can then rejoice that the stories you write with your good example will bless the lives of many others, even if you yourself never get to hear them.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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