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Church president calls for acts of service 'to the lonely, the worn down and the weary'

President Russell M. Nelson delivers a Christmas message of light, love and service on YouTube on Thursday. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints YouTube channel)



Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Calling Jesus Christ the true reason for the Christmas season, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited people around the world Thursday to offer acts of pure love "to the lonely, the worn down and the weary."

"This Christmas, some are still waiting for the lights to come on again," President Russell M. Nelson said in a video message released on his social media accounts and the church's YouTube channel at 8 a.m. MT.

Thousands of people arrived early on the YouTube channel, leaving each other Christmas greetings from all over the world in the comments section as they waited with anticipation. President Nelson told them the Christmas season is near and dear to his heart and said he had a message about how to transform the lives of those who have struggled "during this past year and more," an apparent reference to the pandemic and related struggles.

The message also came as thousands remained without power after last weekend's deadly U.S. tornado outbreak killed at least 88 people in six states.

President Nelson said his message was an invitation for people to ponder how they can help those burdened with fear and uncertainty experience the light of Jesus Christ this Christmas season. The video included scenes depicting both happy families and people who appeared lonely and down.

"I invite you to make room in your heart for those around you who may be struggling to see the light of the Savior and to feel his love," President Nelson said. "No gifts will mean as much as acts of pure love you offer to the lonely, the worn down and the weary. These are gifts that remind us and them of the true reason for the season, the gift of God's son, Jesus Christ, who was born to cast out all fear and bring everlasting light and joy to all that follow him."


No gifts will mean as much as acts of pure love you offer to the lonely, the worn down and the weary.

–Pres. Russell M Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


His message appeared destined to lighten the hearts of some.

"A typhoon is coming to the Philippines tomorrow, Dec. 16," the person behind a YouTube channel in Cebu, Philippines, wrote on the YouTube page before President Nelson's video was posted. "A message of the prophet will surely warm our hearts and help us see the joy beyond hardships. Waiting for this. Merry Christmas everyone!"

President Nelson closed his message with a Christmas wish.

"I wish you, my beloved friends, a very merry Christmas and a joyful season of helping others see and feel the light of Jesus Christ," he said.

He also shared the video on his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The video was shorter but similar in some ways to President Nelson's 2020 video message before Thanksgiving.

In that message, he prescribed gratitude and prayer as a healing remedy for spiritual and societal problems and asked people around the world to flood social media for the following week with "a wave of gratitude" using the hashtag #GiveThanks.

President Nelson's video matched the theme — "light the world with love" — of the church's annual Light the World Christmas initiative. The international initiative centered at LightTheWorld.org includes a calendar with service ideas for each day leading up to Christmas.

It also includes red Giving Machines, vending machine style machines that allow people to buy a donation to local or global charities instead of candy bar or a Coke.

LightTheWorld.org also released a new video this year with a modern Nativity.

President Nelson has maintained a steady beat of optimism and empathy since the pandemic began in March 2020, when he said in a short video that "These unique challenges will pass in time. I remain optimistic for the future."

Here is a transcript of President Nelson's full message from Thursday's video:

The Christmas season is near and dear to my heart, as I know it is to many of you. Given all that we have experienced during this past year and more, may I share a message about how we can help transform lives during this special time of year? As you watch, I invite you to ponder the ways you personally can reach out and help others experience the light of Jesus Christ this Christmas.

This Christmas, some are still waiting for the lights to come on again. That is why we like to share the light of Jesus Christ when so many around us are burdened with fear and uncertainty. I invite you to make room in your heart for those around you who may be struggling to see the light of the Savior and to feel his love. No gifts will mean as much as acts of pure love you offer to the lonely, the worn down and the weary. These are gifts that remind us and them of the true reason for the season, the gift of God's son, Jesus Christ, who was born to cast out all fear and bring everlasting light and joy to all that follow him. I wish you, my beloved friends, a very merry Christmas and a joyful season of helping others see and feel the light of Jesus Christ.

Tad Walch

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