December 5, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

Today, Brother John Parker spoke to BYU-Idaho students about “Lighting the World” in his devotional address.

Use the Season to Emulate Christ

Parker is a faculty member in the Religious Education Department at BYU-Idaho. He started his devotional by expressing how his perspective about Christmas creeping into November has changed. He admitted it used to annoy him. But now he sees it as the world getting more excited for the birth of Christ.

“I hope that every time we see a Christmas light, we remember Him,” Parker said. “If we allow them to, every decoration we see can help us keep our sacrament covenant to remember the Savior.”

Parker then shared how Christ is our perfect example of spreading light to the world. And a great lesson we can take from the life of Jesus Christ is to have more compassion.

“It is to recognize that all of us may have some unique challenges, but we also have a lot of gifts and a lot of good to give to the world,” Parker said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

Become as a Child

Children are a great example of seeing others with compassion.

Parker recalled when he was a young father, he would take his children to McDonald's and he would be watching them play. Then a few minutes later they would come running back holding hands with another child and say, “This is my new friend, can you write down her number?” and within minutes they would have a new best friend.

“Yet I am sitting two feet from their father and never even mentioned a word to him,” he said. “And I am in my own world and not looking around and not seeing opportunities to be a friend and opportunities to reach out. I’m trying to help us to focus and to look with love, maybe the way a child does.”

Another story Parker shared, was a time when his family decided to donate blankets to a homeless shelter.

All the children picked out a blanket to take to the shelter, and his oldest daughter picked a very special blanket. The one Brother Parker and his wife wrapped her in when they took her home from the hospital.

When the family went to donate the blankets, his daughter hesitated. When they offered to donate a different blanket, she looked at the other children in the shelter and said, “If I was one of those girls in that room, I would want this blanket,” she said. “This one is the warmest and most cuddly.”

She then placed the blanket on the donation desk and walked away sobbing.

Small Acts of Service

Providing a service to others doesn’t always have to be a big thing, Parker shared in his address. A smile is also a good way to spread some love.

He shared how one study found that one smile can generate the same stimulations in the brain as 2,000 bars of chocolate.

“I would love to be in that study,” Parker said laughing. “Smiles and chocolate sounds like my thing!”

Parker challenged each student to remember to Light the World and go smiling, lifting and serving others more than ever before.