A big thank you to Mormon.org for partnering with me on this post.
Many of you may be aware that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also knows as the “Mormons.” Although my blog focuses mainly on sharing delicious recipes and lifestyle articles, I feel grateful for the opportunity that I have today to share a little bit about the LDS Church’s #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign this holiday season. The LDS Church has provided a great website with 25 ways over 25 days to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others. This is a great way to come up with ways to serve others and “Light the World” this year. Here is a great video to go along with this campaign.
Each day has a different theme based on the example of Christ. Today in this post, I want to focus on the theme for Day 16, which is “Jesus Showed Compassion and so can you.” We live in a world that is full of trials and difficulties. It is impossible to know what everyone is going through at every time, so it is so important to try to be compassionate to other people. You never know what kind of impact you can have on another person just by lending them a helping hand and saying a kind word.
A few years ago my husband was working two part time jobs while going to school full time. We also had a newborn baby boy and we were living on a very tight budget. There were days when we weren’t sure if we would be able to buy groceries and it was very difficult for us. During that period, we had an experience that we will always remember and that truly showed us that there truly is so much good and light in the world.
One day we were near the end of the month. We were very short on funds, but we were also very short on food that we needed for ourselves and our baby. We wanted to wait until the next pay day before we went shopping again, but quickly realized that that was not going to be possible. We decided that we were going to have faith that everything would work out and we headed over to the local grocery store. While we were there, we filled up our cart and realized that we were going to have to spend a lot more than we had anticipated. At that time, because of some health concerns, we were supplementing breast milk with formula, but it was a very expensive type, so that alone caused our cost to go up quite a bit on that trip.
As we approached the checkout aisle, my husband and I were both feeling a bit discouraged, knowing that we were going to have a hard time making it through the rest of the month, if we could even afford the groceries that we had in our cart. As the cashier scanned our items we saw the total climbing and climbing – first $50, then $75, and then over $100. The dread set in and we both must have looked pretty sad at that point.
Just when my husband reached for his wallet to get his credit card, a lady quickly walked up to us and asked us “I’m sorry, but is there any way that you would allow me to pay for your groceries today?” We both looked at each other and didn’t really know what to say. At first we thought she must be kidding. When it became apparent that she was serious, we asked if she was 100% certain because it was a pretty high total. She said that it didn’t matter and that she really wanted to pay today. She told us that when she was younger and had two twin babies, someone had done the same thing for her and she felt like she needed to “pay it forward.” She quickly paid for all of our groceries and was on her way.
As a result of her compassion, my husband and I were able to breathe a sigh of relief. We were able to go home that night and say a prayer of gratitude for the kindness of that stranger. We were able to feel the love of someone who must have been able to sense what we were going through at that time. This was an experience that will always remain with us and we will always look for opportunities to “pay it forward” as well.
Today I want to share 25 ways that we can all show compassion this holiday season and beyond. I hope that you will all join me as we try to do as much as we can to bear each others’ burdens to make them light. I would love to hear your stories in the comments below!
- Create a Christmas Meal Basket – fill it with food such as fruit, vegetables, a ham, cake mix, green beans, etc. and deliver to a family or individual in need.
- Pay for the person behind you in a fast food line.
- Reach out to an old friend to catch up.
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
- Buy a Christmas tree and offer it up for free in front of your house or on an online marketplace.
- Listen to your local radio stations to see if they are requesting donations of food or toys for families in need and participate.
- Buy a meal for a homeless person that you see on the street.
- Participate in a “12 days of Christmas” project where you secretly give a gift to a family or individual in need in the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
- Invite a widow or widower into your home for a special meal and to spend time together.
- Seek forgiveness from someone that you have wronged.
- Give forgiveness to someone that has wronged you.
- Buy lunch for a co-worker.
- Pay for someone’s groceries.
- Volunteer to watch a friend’s children so that they can go out or just have some personal time.
- Make a donation to a charitable organization.
- Donate old or new clothes or toys to an organization or second hand store.
- Make cookies and drop them off at someone’s home along with a kind note.
- Make or buy an ornament and give it as a gift to someone.
- Shovel the snow from your neighbors’ driveway and sidewalk before they are able to.
- Leave encouraging / kind comments on social media.
- Organize a clean up of a local park.
- Invite someone to attend a religious service with you.
- If you have a special skill, look for someone who could benefit and offer your services for free.
- Organize a group to attend a senior living center and sing Christmas songs.
- Resolve to smile and say “hi” to as many people as you come in contact with for one whole day.
As you can see, many of these ideas are simple, while some may take a little bit more effort. The main point here is to think of ways that you can make someone else happy and put their needs before your own. I know that if we all try to do some of the things on this list (or anything else that comes to your mind), we will help to spread joy and it will help us to be happier too!
I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas season, full of giving sincere, compassionate service to others.
Let me know your ideas in the comments below.