“…freely ye have received, freely give.”
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
“I’m Trying to be Like Jesus” Primary Songbook pg 78
1. I’m trying to be like Jesus;
I’m following in his ways.
I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,
2. I’m trying to love my neighbor;
I’m learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:
“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”
“Have I Done Any Good?” Hymn 223
1. Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.
2. There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.
This weeks lesson has a story for younger children, a story for teenagers and an object lesson for all ages.
*For Younger Children: (Share this story)*
Melissa ran her fingernails over the frosted bus window, making designs. It was so cold outside that the window soon frosted over again.
Camille poked Melissa. “Look what Kathy is wearing today,” she whispered, giggling.
Melissa’s eyes followed Camille’s pointing finger. Kathy sat by herself, her tangled hair sticking out of an old wool hat. Her coat was too short in the sleeves. Her canvas shoes had holes in the toes, and she wasn’t wearing socks. Kathy’s eyes were downcast.
“We shouldn’t be mean,” Melissa said. “I think her family must be really poor.”
“You don’t have to be rich to brush your hair,” Camille said.
“Shh!” Melissa warned.
When the bus stopped, Melissa watched Kathy get off the bus and walk with her little brother toward a small house. No Christmas decorations were visible. No lights. No tree. When Melissa got home, Kathy’s sad face wouldn’t leave her mind. It didn’t seem fair that some people had so much and others so little.
After dinner, Melissa went to their Christmas tree and picked up each of her presents—one from Grandma, one from her best friend, and one from her little brother.
Melissa took her presents over to the table where her parents were talking. “I want to give these away,” she blurted out, before she could change her mind.
Mom and Dad looked surprised. “Why?” Dad asked.
Melissa told them about Kathy.
“I know her family,” Dad said. “Their father died a few years ago, and there are four children in the family.”
“May I give her my presents?” Melissa asked.
“We can do even better than that,” Dad said.
Mom smiled and nodded. “We certainly can.”
Melissa’s family spent the next two days in a frenzy. They cut and decorated another tree, baked more Christmas goodies, and bought food for another Christmas dinner. They gathered clothes for the children—socks, shoes, hats, coats, gloves, shirts, pants, and dresses.
Then Melissa and her brothers opened their presents and rewrapped the ones they wanted to give away. Melissa’s present from her brother was a doll she had been wanting since September. She thought about giving Kathy one of her other presents instead. Then, thinking how happy it would make Kathy, she wrapped the doll in the prettiest paper she could find and put a big red bow on top.
On Christmas Eve, the family loaded all of the presents into the van. Dad drove slowly past Kathy’s house and stopped the van behind a big bush.
Melissa and her older brother, Trent, loaded their arms with presents and followed Dad up the walk. Melissa heard the snow crunching loudly under her boots.
“Please don’t hear us,” she thought.
When they reached the front step, Dad set down the tree in its stand and a big box filled with food. Melissa and Trent hurried to set down their armloads too.
Dad rang the bell and whispered, “Run!”
Everyone ran to hide behind the bush. Melissa tried to quiet her loud breathing as she watched to see what would happen.
When Kathy’s little brother opened the door, he looked around, his eyes huge. Then he yelled, “Mom, Kathy, look! It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!”
Then Kathy came to the door, looking astonished and happy. Melissa had never seen her smile like that before.
On the way home, Melissa felt like she was going to explode with joy. “This is the best Christmas ever!” she said.
(Taken from: Lisa Harvey, “Christmas Eve Drop-Off”, Friend, Dec. 2010, 4–5)
Here are a few questions you can ask throughout the story or at the end of the story:
Why was Kathy sad?
What did present did Melissa wrap with a big red bow for Kathy?
Who rang the doorbell at Melissa’s house?
Who came to the door at Melissa’s house?
How do you think Melissa and her family felt?
How do you think Kathy and her family felt?
Kathy’s family chose to serve Melissa’s family. Christmas time is a great time of service. Service is doing things for others.
(share this story from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 6, 2009.)
Recently as I have reminisced concerning past Christmases I’ve realized that probably no other time of the year yields as many poignant memories as does Christmas. The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring. …
Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.
It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around the ticket counters conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated. They too wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books. If there was a common bond among this diverse throng it was loneliness: pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness. …
The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more passengers stayed behind than made it aboard. …
Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.
Then there was a man in a finely-tailored gray flannel suit, who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork: figuring the year-end corporate profits perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby observing this busy man might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.
Suddenly the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.
The agent wearily told him that prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas, his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy, not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk casting anxious looks around the crowded room, as if seeking just one friendly face.
Finally the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. The travelers who had been waiting long hours heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: 20, 30, 100, until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.
Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”
As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.
No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.
The lights of the departing plane blinked starlike as the craft moved off into the darkness. The infant slept silently, now in the lap of the young mother. Perhaps another flight would be leaving before many more hours. But those who witnessed the interchange were less impatient. The glow lingered gently, pervasively in that small glass and plastic stable at gate 67.
My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Really, joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the world, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”
As we contemplate how we are going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others.
The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and the lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing, and He sowed light in the darkness.
He gave us His love, His service, and His life.
What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the spirit of Christ.
The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring.
The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure
(Thomas S. Monson, “The Spirit We Feel at Christmastime”, New Era, Dec. 2010, 2–4)
OBJECT LESSON ~ For all ages
Dominoes: Stack the dominoes up in a row and have someone push over the first domino. Explain that the one domino falling affects all of the other dominoes (one by one). Relate this to service (One good act of service usually results and is proceeded by another).
(If you read the story Christmas Drop-Off, explain how the first domino is like Kathy and her family. When we do one good thing, it results in many other people serving others–especially during Christmas time)
Caramel Crisp Bars or Holiday Pretzel Treats
Caramel Crisp Bars
4 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
14 caramel candy squares
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 1/2 cups crisped-rice cereal
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1- Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with a piece of foil that extends at least 2 inches over each end. Grease the foil; set the pan aside. Melt the marshmallows, butter, and caramels in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously until smooth, approximately 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Add the cereal and chocolate chips; mix well. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Let it cool completely, about 45 minutes.
2- Transfer the mixture to a cutting board by lifting up the foil. Carefully peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the mixture into 12 large bars, as shown above, or 24 small bars. Store in an airtight container.
Holiday Pretzel Treats
Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug
1- Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug.
2- Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M’s candy into the center of each Kiss.
3- Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.
(Recipes taken from Family.go.com)
1- Brainstorm an individual or family that you can help out this Christmas. List ideas of things you can do for them. (You do not need to buy them things. You can do simple acts of service throughout the holiday season–shovel their snow, bake them cookies or a holiday treat, do something around their yard, etc)
2- Make a holiday treat and deliver it to a neighbor or family in need.
3- Visit an elderly couple in your neighborhood.