I have a confession to make. I grew up loving advent activities; my mom was AMAZING about Christmas and other special occasion traditions.
But relentless health issues the past 14 years has made any kind of consistent anything difficult. So advent efforts have been hit and miss at best over the years.
I also have come to realize that for me, already-set expectations about how something should go can often be unhealthy for me. I’ve had to learn to roll with the punches in order to keep my health and my sanity.
So here’s the confession: When I heard about the 25 Ways in 25 Days challenge, my instinctual reaction was a combination of some mild overwhelm with even a hint of skepticism. I can’t even begin to paint a picture of how stressful and over-full our lives are right now. I have three teens who have been blessed with a variety of amazing opportunities in their lives (as have I); it’s a time of life for our family where it is good and right that we are all busy, as God is busy at work in our lives. But that means we’re all pretty saturated. And then I got sick this week and was in bed most of the weekend, so any kind of formal introduction to the #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative definitely didn’t happen in our home.
But my kids have Seminary. They have friends. They know what is up. And I’m hearing some chatter to indicate that some things may be brewing in their minds.
As I have been watching some of the chatter on social media, my heart has been touched and opened to more of what I think the heart of this initiative is — to help us realize how simple and personal being Christlike really can be. I am enjoying watching how people interpret some of the invitations with their own twists. I love the encouragement to look at both the literal and the figurative ways we can do what the Savior did. And I’ve been delighted to feel some unexpected ideas flowing in my own mind about ways I could do something small, or something I’d already been planning to do and haven’t done yet (like donate clothes). Sometimes I just need a reason to push that thing a little higher on my list.
Most of all, I think this initiative has the potential to not only impact people in the little ways, one-on-one, but also to impact us collectively as we share and see the patterns in what people are doing…or what others are doing for us.
I have seen some reticence to share, because who wants to go around boasting about service? On the outset, that can seem counter-productive, since service is about the one being served. And maybe there are things that are best kept silent, secret.
But I’m grateful all the same for those who are sharing, because we are seeing the creativity, inspiration, and variety of simple ways we can do little things to be more like the Savior. There’s a deliberateness to the daily focus that invites that kind of creativity and inspiration-seeking. Being mindful is a good thing.
And there’s something special about a collective surge of idea-sharing, because it can foster even more creativity.
I think it was Elder Bednar who said something along the lines that this challenge wasn’t meant to be burdensome, or just one more to-do that none of us needs at this time of year. So I’m happy to share that what I’m feeling is my heart taking a breath, desiring to savor the season a little more in a different way as I witness the spreading of the spirit of light and service and love.
So thanks to the creators of this initiative. I can see already that I may not hit all the days but I’m looking forward to see what unfolds in my mind and in others’ lives, and I hope to keep sharing a few highlights along the way.