Late one night, nearly 150 years ago, John Menzies Macfarlane excitedly woke his wife. “I have the words for a song, and I think I have the music too!” he exclaimed.
The choir director had been asked by Elder Erastus Snow (1818–88), an Apostle, to put together a Christmas program. Times were hard, and Brother Macfarlane wanted to crown the event with a rousing new musical piece. But after hours of work and many prayers, nothing had come.
Until that night.1
Far, far away on Judea’s plains,
Shepherds of old heard the joyous strains:
Glory to God,
Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest;
Peace on earth, goodwill to men;
Peace on earth, goodwill to men!2
“John Menzies Macfarlane testified of Jesus Christ through his music,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “We likewise can serve the Lord and bear witness of Him through simple acts of selflessness. We too can make a difference within our families, our wards, our workplaces, and our other spheres of responsibility.”3
The sparkle and fanfare of the Christmas season are certainly enjoyable, but will stressful shopping and ornate decorating be the extent of our tribute to our Savior? Or will we use the gifts God has given us to “bring peace to troubled hearts, goodwill to those in need of higher purpose, glory to God in our willingness to do His bidding?” asked Elder Rasband.
He suggested participating in the Church’s 2017 Christmas campaign. Like last year, the campaign includes an advent calendar with scriptures and ideas for sharing the “light of the world” (John 8:12).
“As you strive to make a difference this Christmas season, I hope you will make the Savior the center of your efforts and that you will bring glory to Him as you serve others in His name,” said Elder Rasband.