My little family was introduced to a wonderful new Christmas tradition this year.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which we are members of, introduced #LightTheWorld to the world. This wasn't something just for members of the church, but for everyone to help make their Christmas season more Christ centered through service. To read more about it click here.
WE LOVED THIS!!!
I found the children's version, and faithful completed every single day with Aniston. Sometimes Benson joined in, but Aniston was the one who would wake up every morning and ask, "What's my service today?"
#LightTheWorld lasted 25 days and I wished it had lasted longer. The past couple of years I have struggled with Christmas. It's definitely more fun with children and as a parent, but it had lost it's magic. My children hate Santa, gift giving is on an entirely different level of anxiety for me, and I hate the snow. I was having a hard time remembering what Christmas was all about. Last year I became obsessed with Mary and her amazing role in Christmas (read my post about that here), and even though I am still very much obsessed with that amazing woman, Christmas wasn't so special. #LightTheWorld brought back the magic of Christmas for me. It made Christmas special and focused again.
As a parent it can be difficult to teach your children about service. It's hard to think of ideas for service with kids and then it can be difficult to even know where to start. The #LightTheWorld (yes I like to type it better when it's a hashtag) challenge made it so simple and served it's purpose perfectly.
I worked really hard to document our service during this Christmas time. It will be so fun to look back in several years and see what we did and how we served during this Christmas season. Here are some of our favorite challenges this year...
DAY 1 - I will serve others today
On this day we made a TON of banana bread and passed it out to our friends and family.
DAY 2 - Tell your parents "I Love You."
I didn't think that Benson understood this challenge or all the hard work I had been putting into teaching him about service. But when I was asking him, he knew. He remembered. and that gave me motivation and the determination to keep going.
DAY 7 - Donate food to a shelter
ON this day we went to the Magical Reindeer Experience in Idaho Falls. It worked out perfectly because they were also collecting canned goods at the event. I promise Aniston was really excited about it, the cans were just really heavy.
DAY 8 - Say a prayer for others.
I love listening and watching my children pray. I'm do not set a good example about keeping my eyes closed...
DAY 10 - Help shovel someone's sidewalk.
This was the first time in my life that I can ever remember praying for snow. I knew Aniston would be devastated if she could perform this service, but lucky for us it snowed a ton, and our landscaping company was slow to shovel that day, so Aniston got the opportunity to help us shovel the complex sidewalk.
DAY 14 - Donate clothes to those in need.
Aniston has watched Spencer and I go through our closets quite regularly, but had never let her go through her own clothes on her own and decide what to donate. SHE LOVED IT! And she did such a great job!
DAY 15 - Sing your favorite primary song today.
It's not perfect, but if that doesn't make you smile I don't know what will.
DAY 16 - Pick out a toy to donate to kids in need.
This was the hardest of all the service challenges for Aniston. We are lucky enough that our children have never known want. They have plenty of toys, clothes, and food. So it was really difficult for Aniston to understand why there are some kids don't get toys for Christmas. But in the end, she picked out a great toy and donated it to a child in need.
DAY 17 - Draw a picture for your mom.
Every Christmas Aniston draws me a nativity picture. This year she included a donkey and used googly eyes! Best one yet!
DAY 19 - Memorize a phone # to call in an emergency.
Seriously, so cute!
DAY 24 - Make the bed of a family member.
Aniston made my bed for me on this morning and although I may have remade it (darn OCD) a few minutes later, her heart was so into it and she was so proud of herself.
DAY 25 - Hang a picture of Jesus in your room.
I love this picture of Christ and it was a perfect fit for their room.
We have decided, well I have decided to make this a yearly tradition. I took the papers and laminated them so they will last forever!
I really needed the #LightTheWorld challenge in my life this Christmas season and it was the perfect way to stay focused and happy during a crazy and hectic time. If you weren't able to participate this year, I encourage you to remember this challenge for next year. It will change your Christmas and bless your life so much!