17- 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.
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.”
1. Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee–
2. Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?
3. I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper–
4. Savior, may I love my brother
As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon,
For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother–
*For Younger Children* Read or tell “Straw for the Manger” (Friend Dec 2010). Testify that our service to others is a great gift for our Savior.
Michael gazed at the tiny, soft bed of straw. “I am glad that baby Jesus will have a soft, warm bed for Christmas Eve,” he thought.
For the past week Michael had carefully tucked little pieces of straw into this tiny manger, one piece at a time. Michael thought that it just might be the best Christmas he ever had because now he was old enough to understand what Christmas was all about.
A week ago Mom had given a family home evening lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. She said that Jesus Christ was the greatest gift Heavenly Father gave to the world. Then she presented each child in the family with a small, empty manger and a tiny figure of the baby Jesus.
“For the next week you will each have a chance to give a present back to Heavenly Father,” Mom said.
“How can we do that?” Michael asked.
“Your gift to Heavenly Father will be to serve others,” she said. “Each time you do a good deed or help another person, you may add a piece of straw to your manger. The more kindness you show to others, the softer the manger will be on Christmas Eve.”
“I hope I can get more straw in my manger than anybody else!” Michael thought.
The next day Michael started working to collect straw.
“Mom, can I help you sweep the floor?” Michael asked, when he saw her cleaning the kitchen.
“I’ll help you find your teddy bear,” he told his little brother when he cried for his lost toy.
“I want to shovel some snow too,” he said when his dad went outside to shovel the driveway.
Within a few days Michael’s little manger looked very different. It was stuffed full of straw! But Michael noticed a change in himself too. He started to enjoy doing kind things for others because he knew it was what Heavenly Father wanted him to do. Sometimes he even forgot to add a piece of straw to the manger when he helped.
Michael decided that doing nice things made him feel good inside. On Christmas Eve, as he stood by the soft lights of the Christmas tree, Michael gently laid his tiny baby Jesus in the manger, which was now overflowing with straw.
Michael knew he had done the best he could to show his love for Heavenly Father and Jesus. This was the best Christmas ever.
Discuss the following questions as a family:
1- What did they put in the manger?
2- How did they earn straw?
3- How did Micheal feel on Christmas Eve?
Testify that our service to others is a great gift for our Savior.
*For Teenagers or Adults* Watch the video of Thomas S Monson below and discuss the importance of service, especially this time of year. (You may want to share parts from Thomas S Monson’s talk: What Have I Done for Someone Today?)
Testify of the importance of helping and serving others.
Smiling Snowman Cake or Mock Fried Ice Cream
Smiling Snowman Cake
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups vanilla frosting
Shredded coconut (optional)
2 black licorice drops
1 large orange gumdrop
Red shoestring licorice
Red fruit leather
3 starlight mints
3 small gumdrops
2 sticks chocolate licorice
1- Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two ovenproof glass bowls, one slightly larger than the other. (Note: For our cake, we used one bowl with a 1-liter capacity and 6-inch diameter and the other with a 1 1/2-liter capacity and 7-inch diameter.)
2- To make the cake, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Sift the ingredients onto waxed paper and return to the bowl.
3- In a separate bowl, blend the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
4- Alternately, add the flour mixture and the milk to the batter in thirds, combining well after each addition. Fill the bowls about two thirds full. Bake the smaller cake for about 50 minutes and the larger cake for about 65 minutes.
5- When done, the surface will spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Cool in the bowls for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a large, rectangular platter (about 17 by 12 inches) so the cakes resemble a snowman. Cool completely.
6- Ice the cakes with the vanilla frosting, then sprinkle with shredded coconut, if desired. Add licorice drop eyes, insert an orange gumdrop nose and fashion a broad smile with shoestring licorice.
7- For the scarf, cut two 2-inch-wide strips of fruit leather, notch the ends and wrap around the neck of the snowman. For the buttons, use starlight mints topped with gumdrops. Finish off the snowman with two chocolate licorice arms. Serves 10 to 12.
Mock Fried Ice Cream
1 pint ice cream (your favorite flavor)
3/4 cup almond cluster or granola cereal
1/3 cup mixed nuts, chopped fine
6 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup water
1- Thaw the ice cream slightly so that it’s easy to scoop out of the container but still firm enough to hold shape. Meanwhile, combine the cereal and nuts in a bowl and set an empty muffin tin nearby.
2- Working quickly, individually roll rounded scoops of ice cream in the cereal mixture and place them in the muffin tin (1 per cup). You should end up with 4 to 6 ice-cream balls. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer for at least 1 hour so the ice cream will firm up.
3- For the chocolate gravy, combine the chocolate morsels and water in the top of a double boiler. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sauce is smooth. Makes 3/4 cup of sauce, which can be refrigerated in a sealed container up to a week.
4- Just before serving, drizzle warm chocolate gravy over each ice-ceam ball. Enjoy.
(Recipes taken from Familyfun.go.com)
1- Make a Manger and cut up yellow paper strips. (See the lesson for younger children.)
2- Do a service project or plan who you can serve this year during Christmas as a family.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.