Special to the Recorder
Traditionally a count-down to Christmas focuses on receiving gifts. Whether you’re wishing for five golden rings or two turtle doves, the 12 Days of Christmas turn our minds to what we might receive.
Spencer and Zoe Smith wanted their children to focus more on giving than receiving, so they took their children up and down the block and helped them pull all the neighbor’s trash cans in from the curb. They got the idea from the website, www.mormon.org. Created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “25 ways in 25 days” is designed to help us all think more of Him whose birthday Christmas was designed to commemorate.
On Dec. 1, the website began offering a slew of creative suggestions for turning our minds toward Jesus Christ. Each day until Christmas the website shares fun, new ideas for serving our fellow man.
Every day highlights something Jesus did during his ministry, and encourages readers to do something similar. Christ healed the sick, so participants in “25 days” might want to give blood. Since Jesus fed the hungry, we are encouraged to donate food to a food bank or invite someone over to dinner.
The Smiths enticed their young children to participate in “25 days” with a traditional advent calendar. Because it’s a little difficult to get young children to focus on anything other than they want from Santa Clause, Spencer Smith motivated his two children with chocolate.
“It’s working great,” he said. “We tell the kids what the service will be for the day, and at the end of the day if they performed their service they get to open the advent calendar and eat the candy for that day.”
Added Zoe Smith, “Their motive to serve like Jesus serves might not be entirely altruistic, but it’s a good start to getting the kids thinking about someone besides themselves and what they want for Christmas.”
To commemorate the day “Jesus visited the lonely,” for example, their mother took the children to a nursing home to visit the residents there.
The website offers three ways each day to show Christlike behavior. The ideas are not always elaborate. Some are as simple as praying with your family, sending somebody a scripture to cheer them up or making a real person-to-person phone call.
People who participate in “25 ways for 25 days” say it is such a good way to keep our minds on Christ, they want to do it every year.