Thursday, December 23, 2010


I wrote this article for my school newspaper, and then found out the paper wouldn't be published. I was a little upset at first, but am just glad I was able to write it. It really made my Christmas better than it would have been.

The Christmas season is fast approaching. As other’s around me in newspaper were doing different articles on Christmas related topics, I wondered what I should do. I realized that I wanted to write something that would make this Christmas season an even better one for each of us. I started to observe those around me and I finally decided. For my article this month I performed an experiment at Rocky Mountain High School. Experimentation is used to test existing theories or to prove or disprove a hypothesis. My hypothesis was this: "Teenagers are more concerned about trivial matter and are more self-absorbed than adults." After asking students and teachers at random I was surprised at the results produced.

I asked these questions of all those I interviewed. "At this point in your life, what are you most concerned about? What do you think about when you are just thinking? What worries you?" The answers I received were wide and varying. Students expressed fear and concern about college and the pressures of getting into one. One young man told me, "Girls. I think about girls." When questioned a teacher said, "I am concerned at the lack of compassion human’s show to one another." These two questions supported my hypothesis perfectly, that young people were more concerned about themselves and what makes them happy, rather than what they can do to make others happy. Then I was blown away by what a different young man answered. He told me his main concern right now in his life was preparing himself to be a better servant of God. The unselfishness of his answer caused me to contemplate what would make him say that. Why would he want to do that? Having spent time with this particular person I reflected on what I already knew about him. I had seen how he interacted with others and seen how he actively tried to be friendly and make them happy. I concluded his selflessness was a result of years of trying to become more caring and loving.

We live in a world where greed dominates all we do. Selfish people manipulate others to gain unfairly, for their own benefit for their own desires? How many people pose as credit card companies and con elderly people out of their money? What is their purpose to it all? The only things they stand to gain are the things they want.

A young man in our school is a primary example to me of how serving others, and not just ourselves, can change a life. He told me the story of being part of a group that went to an elderly women’s home cleaned her yard, moved things she couldn’t, and winterized her windows for her. Before departing they sang her a song. He said seeing her face changed the way he felt about service. "I felt happy when I realized I was doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves." It touched me to see tears in his eyes as I heard him tell of his experience. Never before had I seen him cry. I didn’t expect to see him cry. But even though he is smart and very athletic, he wasn’t above serving others. It is not my intention share a sob story to appeal to your emotional side, but to demonstrate what real, selfless service is.

We have all heard people talk about "the reason for the season," but what does it mean? As most people know, Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Christ, who lived a full selfless life, loved, unceasingly, everyone around him. The reason we celebrate him is because of what he did for us, sacrificing himself out of love for people everywhere. This Christmas season, let us rid ourselves of the selfishness that plagues our world and reach out to others because of the love we have for them. Let us emulate the example of the person we celebrate. I recently heard this talk by a man I greatly admire, where he gave us what we need to make Christmas this year better than ever. This is what he said.
"Finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Really, joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the world, who said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40). As we contemplate how we are going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others. The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and the lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing, and He sowed light in the darkness. He gave us His love, His service, and His life.

What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the spirit of Christ. The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring. The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure."