Our Stake (Arlington Texas) is studying one scripture a month this year. To help families to integrate the scripture into their homes in meaningful ways, for each scripture we will share the following:
- the accompanying challenge
- free printables of the scripture or related challenge for display in the home
- family home evening lessons for all types of families
- ideas for memorizing the scripture
The scripture for December is John 8:12.
The accompanying challenge is to celebrate and be grateful for the birth, life, and light of the world, even Jesus Christ by striving to follow him a little more this month in your thoughts and actions towards others.
To accomplish this, President Davies encourages us to participate in the #LightTheWorld campaign, as we did last year.
The objectives of the #LightTheWord initiative are to:
- Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ
- Celebrate the Light of Jesus Christ and share it with others
- Inspire individuals, families, youth groups and congregations to emulate Jesus Christ’s example of service through scriptures from December 1 through December 25
- Encourage participants to use #LightTheWorld to share what they have experienced as a giver or receiver of Christlike caring or a small act of service from December 1 through December 25
- Invite people to visit the mormon.org website to learn more about Jesus Christ’s birth, teachings and mission
Over 25 days, there are 25 ways to follow Christ. You can print out a calendar to follow the program. Each day includes a scripture, and a visit to Mormon.org will guide you to that day’s opportunity to #LightTheWorld with ideas related to that scripture of how you can more fully celebrate Christmas by focusing on the Savior in many ways.
To make it super easy, a group of LDS bloggers got together and created a Google Calendar to help you get it all right on your phone. Visit ThisMormonLife for the easy-peasy instructions, or simply click here to subscribe to that calendar and watch it magically appear on your Google Calendar. So worth it.
While this is a Christmas-focused program, it is appropriate for use any time of year, and could easily be repeated every month throughout the year as a year-long approach to drawing closer to the Savior by becoming more like Him.
As we choose to follow and the Savior, some visual reminders in our home can help us keep this foremost in our minds.
I Heart Naptime shares a few printables in a single free download, one of which is a lovely “Light the World” printable.
And last but absolutely not least, the Red Headed Hostess offers an assortment of free printable #LightTheWorld kits that are truly amazing. I mean, truly. This is just one row of several, contributed by different people, that are designed to help you bring #LightTheWorld to life in your family. This is a must-see.
Family Home Evening Ideas
Last December’s A Year in the Scriptures has lots of Christmas FHE ideas, so be sure to check that out for more options.
An idea that would work for all ages is to print out the #Light the World glowstick labels we’ve created for you, punch out the holes where you see the black dots, thread them over a glow stick, and give them away.
You can print this simple coloring page of the Stake Scripture (John 8:12) for a quick activity to go with a discussion or planning time of the way your family will participate in #LightTheWorld.
Everyday Mom Ideas offers this free printable of a variety of #LightTheWorld gift tags. Print them off, and then plan out eight #LightTheWorld activities (one for each tag) for your family. As you accomplish them, attach them as ornaments to your tree or attach them to any gift given as part of your #LightTheWorld activities.
Look through the kits at Red Headed Hostess and pick one that is a good fit for your family. Plan and begin to implement the project.
This lesson from Life’s Journey to Perfection was designed as a youth activity, but it makes a great FHE, too. You’d need to print out the pictures ahead of time (or load them onto a device), but other than that, it’s super low prep with a strong spiritual message.
Watch the #LightTheWorld video and look carefully at the 25 days. Make a plan for implementing the ideas, as some need additional prep work. Consider having a journal to record what you do/think/feel/experience. If you are single or have a disinterested spouse, consider sharing ideas with a friend to encourage you. A month is a long time on your own!
If you are teaching the #LightTheWorld initiative, the resources above should be more than sufficient.
If you are teaching the scripture reference, John 8:12, here are some thoughts surrounding that verse:
- In Malachi 4:2, Jesus is called the Sun of Righteousness that will rise with healing in its rays. In this verse, Jesus declares himself to be that Messiah, the bringer of eternal light.
- He is making this declaration during the Feast of Tabernacles.
- On the eve of the Lesser Festival (in the middle of the 8-day festival), and on each of the five nights which followed, there would be a lighting of the Temple court to celebrate the “Rejoicing of the Water-Drawing.”
- Four very, very large golden candelabra would shed their light through the whole city. There was dancing, singing, and music all night until morning. At daybreak, there was a procession to the Pool of Siloam.
- Remember that the Feast of Tabernacles is a wilderness festival, a reminder to the Jews of their time in the wilderness. The water-drawing reminds us of water given in abundance, and the illumination reminds us of the pillar of fire that was a light to those walking in darkness.
- What makes Christ’s declaration here so impactful is that he makes it on the night of the Feast when the candelabra do not burn. They’ve burned the last six nights, and now they don’t. He is the only light. He says, essentially, “I am not merely the lighting of the temple court or the city. I am the true light of the entire world. There is no light beyond me. I am the Glory of the Lord.”
- This declaration is very similar to the one He makes of Himself as the bread of life and the living water. Both times, there was literal bread and water to which He was comparing Himself.
- Remember that in the wilderness, the camp of Israel moved nowhere if the pillar was stationary (read Numbers 9:1-23). No matter how inconvenient, no matter what, they didn’t move without it. Likewise, if it moved, they followed. No matter how inconvenient, no matter what, they moved when it did.
- Darkness is also symbolic in the scriptures of a soul turned away from God, so Jesus is saying here that He is the bridge between God and man, that with Him, no one need ever be separated from God.
- In this verse, Christ’s declaration is incredibly powerful. He is saying, “I will be your light in the wilderness of the world. Move when I lead. Wait with when I tell you to pause. There will never be darkness, not even on the last night of the feast, because I will be your everlasting light.”
Be sure to visit our Scripture Memorizing Ideas page for ideas and general help on memorizing.