3rd Annual 12 Days of Christmas Challenge (It’s easy.)

So here’s the basic idea: Random acts of kindness every day for the Twelve Days of Christmas. It can be anything. (Hence, “random.”)

Here are a few ideas I threw around in my head: mailing a Christmas package to someone, paying for the next person’s order in the drive-thru window or swiping my card to pay for a particular someone’s purchase behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store, write a letter or make a phone call to someone who might need it, show up at another tired mom’s house and help her fold laundry or wrap presents, drop off goodies at the house of a grumpy or lonely neighbor, . . . You get the idea. No need to spend– just look for an opportunity for kindness and jump on it, whether for a loved one or a stranger.

So I’m going to start Tuesday, on December 13th and spread some Christmas kindness every day through Christmas Eve. And I’ll involve my children as much as possible– coming up with ideas, or making something together, or delivering or whatever– so that we can feel the spirit of it as a family. Anybody want to join me in the challenge?

Here’s a button if you want one. You can blog about it and invite others, or put it on your sidebar as a reminder, or do whatever works for you.

html code for the button:
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This post right here can be the gathering place for sharing the joy. Come back and report some of the things you do, if you want to, or if you have a great story to share. (I’ll keep a link on my sidebar here for easy access.) You’re welcome to comment your “reports” anonymously or with initials or a pseudonym or something. I just think it would be fun to hear about each other’s experiences and rejoice in the whole business of joyful service together. Plus, we can read and then steal each other’s ideas.

“In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. ‘It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring ‘peace on earth,’ because it means—good will toward all men.’ Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Then each Christmas will be the best Christmas ever.”Thomas S. Monson


Here’s a fun idea that my family did for Family Home Evening tonight.  We made up award ribbon signs and then drove all around our neighborhood looking at everyone’s Christmas lights.  We decided together which houses were our pick for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, then knocked on their door to give them their awards.  I’m sure they were flattered by the great honor.  The kids loved it, and it was a fun family activity.


GCBC Week 11: “It Is Better to Look Up” by Elder Carl B. Cook, and “The Songs They Could Not Sing” by Elder Quentin L. Cook

Since we learned all about priorities and time management last week from Elder Ardern, I thought this week I’d really put you to the test.  Actually, I just selected two talks because they go really well together.  I know you’re all busy getting ready for Christmas, but I promise that slowing down to study these talks will give you some much-needed moments of peace and instruction.

These are both great talks.  All of us face challenges in different forms.  I often wonder at the challenges of others and how they possibly handle them, but the fact is:  God customizes our challenges just for us, and He has prepared us to face them.  He knows who we are, and He believes in us.  In addition to his faith, He also offers us His help.  Sometimes the most important thing we need to get through a challenge is the knowledge that we are not in it alone.  Both talks reassure us that Heavenly Father is nearby and willing to offer us support and relief in our trials.  Like the enslaved people we read about in Mosiah 24, we learn that our challenges are rarely removed, but that the Lord lightens our burdens and helps us find a cheerful heart even under the weight of them.  I’m looking to forward to reading what you love about these talks.

It Is Better to Look Up  by Elder Carl B. Cook

“Experience has taught me that if we, like President Monson, exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy.We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance—and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction.”

The Songs They Could Not Sing by Elder Quentin L. Cook

“There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences. Adverse results in this mortal life are not evidence of lack of faith or of an imperfection in our Father in Heaven’s overall plan. The refiner’s fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God.”

What about these talks stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

p.s. Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done by Elder Robert D. Hales is another excellent talk about patience through trials, but we’ll study that one later.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

GCBC Week 10: “A Time to Prepare” by Elder Ian S. Ardern

This was one of my favorite talks from general conference. Time is so slippery. There are so many things I want to do, and some I know I should do, but I can’t seem to get it all done. And though it’s not realistic to get done everything we ever wish we could do, sometimes an analysis of spent time reveals choice not in line with priorities. That’s why I loved his reminders about using our time wisely. It’s a lesson I really need to learn.

A Time to Prepare by Elder Ian S. Ardern

“With the demands made of us, we must learn to prioritize our choices to match our goals or risk being exposed to the winds of procrastination and being blown from one time-wasting activity to another. We are well taught about priorities by the Master Teacher when He declared in His Sermon on the Mount, ‘Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness’ “

What about this talk stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.