Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.As we remember that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God, (Mosiah 2:17) we will not find ourselves in the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal Christmas Carol. Marley spoke sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: 'Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!'Marley added: 'Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. I love his line, 'I am not the man I was.'Why is Dickens’ Christmas Carol so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.
Thomas S. Monson
A Christian people doesn't mean a lot of goody-goodies. The Church has plenty of stamina and isn't afraid of sin. On the contrary, she can look it in the face calmly and even take it upon herself, assume it at times, as Our Lord did. When a good workman's been at it for a whole week, surely he's due for a booze on Saturday night. Look: I'll define you a Christian people by the opposite. The opposite of a Christian people is a people grown sad and old. You'll be saying that isn't a very theological definition. I agree...Why does our earliest childhood always seem so soft and full of light? A kid's got plenty of troubles, like everybody else and he's really so very helpless, quite unarmed against pain and illness. Childhood and old age should be the two greatest trials of mankind. But that very sense of powerlessness is the mainspring of a child's joy. He just leaves it all to his mother, you see. Present, past, future -- his whole life is caught up in one look and that look is a smile. Well, lad, if only they'd let us have our way, the Church might have given men that supreme comfort. Of course they'd each have their own worries to grapple with, just the same. Hunger, thirst, poverty, jealousy -- we'd never be able to pocket the devil once and for all, you may be sure. But man would have known he was the son of God; and therein lies your miracle. He'd have lived, he'd have died with that idea in his noddle -- and not just a notion picked up in books either -- oh, no! Because we'd have made that idea the basis of everything: habits and customs, relaxation and pleasure, down to the very simplest needs. That wouldn't have stopped the labourer ploughing, or the scientist swotting at his logarithms, or even the engineer making his playthings for grown-up people. What we would have got rid of, what we would have torn from the very heart of Adam, is that sense of his own loneliness...God has entrusted the Church to keep [the soul of childhood] alive, to safeguard our candour and freshness... Joy is the gift of the Church, whatever joy is possible for this sad world to share... What would it profit you even to create life itself, when you have lost all sense of what life really is?
Georges Bernanos