Many of my most vivid holiday memories have very little to do with the “prettiness” of Christmas. Pictures of these moments-if we even had them-would surely not be very Pin-able. I was probably wearing my over-sized basketball shorts, the lighting would have been awful, and there were definitely no burlap banners with matching drinks in mason jars.
No, none of that was there. And funny how that doesn’t seem to matter.
One memory in particular stands out.
I remember my nine-year-old self walking between the tables and sweeping up the remnants of a holiday dinner in a downtown Houston homeless shelter. I understood so little about the people who were there-but I began to understand that as I swept and smiled, I was doing what Jesus might have done.
It was one of hundreds of little experiences when my parents, figuratively speaking, invited me to the manger-to find Christ in Christmas.
But it wasn’t about the homeless shelter. It was about people needing to feel a little love, a little goodness. And those kind of people are easy to find.
Those kind of people live right down the hall.
And that’s the power of the Christmas Service Star. The Christmas Service Star is an uncomplicated and sweet way to remind us-all of us-that the Spirit of Christmas is love and that all of our homes could use a little more of it.
So here’s how it goes. You make, re-purpose, or find a star that accompanies small acts of service throughout the month of December. (We found our star wand for a great price at the Wood Connection.) When you’re anonymously served and the star is left on your sneakily-made bed or in your miraculously-emptied dishwasher, it’s your turn. You have 24 hours to pass on the star by doing something for someone else.
And there you have it. Warm fuzzies. Everywhere.
It’s easy to tie in a Family Home Evening at the kick-off or the wrap-up (or hey, the in-between) of the Christmas Service Star.
The main idea goes a little something like this: A long time ago, wise men followed a perfectly placed STAR to find the Christ child. When they found him, they gave him precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
You and I are on a similar journey as we seek this Jesus. And we find him and prepare ourselves with precious gifts to give him as we love and lift and serve the people around us.
I’ve compiled a list of resources that you could use in your Family Home Evening. Just a few ideas to get you started.
Kick off the night by singing Stars Were Gleaming. If you have younger kids, there’s a great story from the Friend several years ago that ties in the Christmas star and serving a family member. President Monson’s Christmas devotional from 2010, “A Bright Shining Star” is another great place to look. My favorite, though, might be the new Mormon Message that just came out, “The Reason Behind Christmas.” So many sweet ideas about the kinds of gifts that Jesus would have us give.
Here’s to a little more love in all of our homes this holiday season.