Each year as the leaves turn and snow falls on our beautiful Montana, we think of gifts and giving. The gift that we all have the ability and privilege to give is love. Love without judgement. Love freely given. Love for our Creator. Love for His children. We can transform lives, even our own, by turning the focus of this next month to a season of love and service to others.
My life is enriched by serving with others in our community. At times it comes naturally. At other times it is uncomfortable, inconvenient or unfamiliar. In each situation, I’m reminded of one universal truth: my service is a gift of love. Love to a refugee mother who has lived through years of fear, loss and hunger. Love to a family coping with a newborn baby who is not strong enough to leave the hospital. Love to a teenager who has nowhere to call home, whose family sleeps in local church classrooms. When he wakes up, he goes to middle school just like my own children. The Lord knows them all. He knew the refugee mother in Africa and He knows her here in Missoula. He feels the wet tears of those parents worried about their newborn. He sees that boy in the school hallways carrying a much bigger weight than just his backpack. He hears their prayers and He sends hands to help and lift with love. We, you and me, are those hands. We freely serve and love them regardless of their choices or our shortcomings. Why? Because they are children of God, just like you and me.
The Holy Bible teaches us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We each have a light in us that urges to make the world better. To help more. To stretch further. To lift higher. To love bigger. In the coming month, we have the opportunity to shine that light, to “light the world” with service and love.
Dec. 1 falls on Worldwide Giving Tuesday, a day to renew our commitment to light the world with generosity and love. It is a reminder to look for ways to serve and love in everyday moments with my family, neighbors and community. It reminds me to look for surplus in my life and to donate to charities and others in need. Many others are doing the same to do their small, and sometimes big, part to make lives better. Sharon Eubank, head of an international humanitarian organization, encourages us, “to lift up the hands that hang down, to put struggling people on our backs or in our arms and carry them. It isn’t complicated to know what to do, but it often goes against our selfish interests, and we have to try.” Beginning this Tuesday and all of December, let us serve and give of our love freely and generously. Together let’s try.
Grace Thomas, a UM graduate, wife, mother of 6, children’s program leader and young women summer camp director in a local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She can be reached at email@example.com.