Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Light of the World

I had to teach the Sharing Time in Primary.  It was supposed to be about Christmas, but we had done the nativity already.  My first couselor, Melissa, suggested an idea she had done before about having the children write a service on a paper ornament and hang it on the tree. I loved the idea and it got my mind going. 
This was my lesson:
I had a table top christmas tree with no decorations sitting in front of the room.  I asked the littlest children if they knew what it was. "A tree!" they answered. 
But what kind of tree?
"A Christmas tree!" they shouted.
I asked them if it looked good enough or if it needed something else. Of course all of the children offered up ideas of what it needed: ornaments, a star, an angel, candy canes, etc. So I pulled out a container of small ornaments.  The kids were scrambling over themselves raising their hands, wanting to put an ornament on the tree.  I told them that in order to put an ornament on the tree, they had to think of a gift of service that they could do for their family for Christmas.  They said things, like: make my bed, do the dishes, clean my room, help Mom clean, and even wash the car!
The tree was finally covered in ornaments.  Then I let 3 kids put a beaded garland on the tree when they told me what they would do as service to their family.  Then finally I let a child put the star on top of the tree.  I talked to the children about how the star reminds us of the Star of Bethlehem when Christ was born. And that sometimes people put angels on their tree because it reminds them of the Angels in the Christmas story.  Then I asked, once again, if the tree looked finished. "It needs lights!" some of the children offered.
I walked to the wall to plug the lights in and said "I'm going to turn on the lights, let me know if this makes our tree look better."  When I plugged in the tree, there were audible sighs and gasps. We all agreed it looked much better.  I asked the children if they ever rode with their families to look at the lights.  Why do you think we like lights so much? They answered that it is because they are pretty, they remind us of Christmas. 
I explained that one of the names that Jesus is given is "The Light of the World."  He is the light.  Just like on the tree. The tree is decorated and doesn't truly look beautiful until we turn on the lights. We can do the best we can, by giving service and love to our family and friends, but Jesus is the light that makes those things perfect.  It is His example that makes us feel the love we feel at Christmas time.
Then I gave each of the children a paper ornament that looked like a Christmas light bulb.  I told them that it is to remind them to bring the light of Christ into their home by following Jesus's example.  They all wrote, on the back of the ornament, what gift of service they were going to give their family for Christmas.  They got to take the ornaments home.
I have been pondering this lesson this week.  Jesus truly is the Light that perfects all that we do. After all we do, sometimes our best, mostly our meager attempts- Jesus perfects it and sanctifies it so that it is good.  Because of His atonement, our mistakes and rough edges are made whole and smooth when we turn to Him.
I am thankful for the opportunity that teaching this lesson gave me to think about these things.

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