Christmas has come early for Saints from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
The 'Light The World' Christmas initiative kicked off at the beginning of this month, with its purpose to encourage people to follow the example of Jesus Christ and serve others during the Christmas season.
The holiday season can be a lonely time for the sick and infirm but not for the elderly residents of Queen Victoria Home in Lindisfarne, Hobart. They were recently visited by young children from the Rosy Ward.
With hearts full of love and voices sure, the children sang familiar Christmas carols to the joy of those listening. Nine-year-old Josh said, 'I thought it was good that we had all the people smiling. I liked it that one of the ladies mentioned she was glad that we were singing songs about Jesus.”
The Granger family are lighting the world in their town of Athelstone in Adelaide.
Mum Tahnee has loved teaching her three children Andi, 7, Campbell, 3 and even baby Jordan about the importance of service. They recently invited their neighbours over for family home evening and the kids dressed up as snowmen.
“It's important to teach our kids relationships with people and service we render are much more important and fulfilling than anything else. It's been really nice for them to get so excited about doing something for someone else rather than being caught up on their own 'Santa list'.”
And young Andi is loving it.
'Because Christmas is all about Jesus, it's important because when we serve people we feel closer to Christ. And that's what Christmas is all about,” she said.
Across the ditch in Auckland is Claudia Mitchell, who is lighting the world via social media.
Claudia shares the daily Light the World scripture on her Instagram stories, followed by sharing her act of service for the day. They are often simple things, like delivering chocolate to neighbours or cleaning her brother’s house.
“I’m a massive social media fan so it’s definitely the easiest way to share the gospel,” she said.
“The amount of people who have messaged me has been crazy. Members will tell me they are inspired to take part from seeing my stories as well as non-members who have told me how cool it is.”
Her favourite experience was when she donated water to people from the Islands visiting the Hamilton temple.
“Being able to donate something as simple as water to people who are sacrificing so much to visit the temple was the coolest thing ever.
“It makes me feel good. I’ve found Light the world really inspiring and a cool initiative.”
And Claudia encourages everyone to give it a go.
“Even if it’s now the middle of December, just try it. Do it with friends and family. Get a group together. Pick one day you think is good and just try it at least once.”
In the tropical island of Fiji is Nemani Tuitubou, another young adult who is grateful for the Light the World campaign for changing his perspective on Christmas.
“I used to think of Christmas as food, presents and it was those things I looked forward to,” he said.
“Ever since I have participated in this initiative, I’ve started to have an outward approach and think of what I can give or help people with. Light the World teaches us the true meaning of Christmas. In the world today, we forget the meaning.”
On the first day of the Light the World campaign, Nemani had back pain so he went to the hospital. When he saw a blood donation poster, he decided to give blood.
“The scripture that day was, “freely ye have received, freely give” so it made sense just to give blood,” he said.
“The lady helping me asked me a lot of questions and it led to me sharing about Light the World and the gospel. She downloaded the gospel library right then and there and watched the Light the World video. She was very emotional.”
“Christmas is not about Santa Claus or presents but it is about what we can give.”
It’s not too late to take part in Light the World! Go to Mormon.org to get started now.