During this season, everyone looks for ideas to share the Gospel! Here’s one from me and my companion.
On December 10, 2011, an Ethiopian friend asked me for a movie depiction of the events in the Americas at Christ’s birth. With him in mind, that evening I pulled out the Church’s Christmas DVD Joy to the World and watched it for the first time.
It is one of the most powerful films about the Savior I have ever seen!
I have known about this DVD for years but never actually watched it. My companion and I were deeply moved. The subject of Christ’s birth and ministry are topics Christians everywhere have deep feelings about. And the Christmas hymns sung with reverence and exuberance by the Tabernacle Choir are stunning.
In addition, the film is presented in vignettes of the high points in the Savior’s life. This series of images is powerful enough in itself, but it also eliminates a distraction for some people when what they see on screen is different than what they’ve come to expect from commercial TV and movies.
I recognized immediately this film could touch the hearts of many, especially our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. And it is sooo easy to give as a Christmas gift!
I found out on lds.org that it only costs $1.50 per copy![i] I decided prayerfully to buy as many as I felt I could reasonably get.
At first I thought I had obtained far too many and that we missionaries would never be able to get rid of the over 300 we had pooled. As it turned out, I think we could have given 3,000 to the members of the five wards where we shared them. That’s how excited they were!
Newly baptized converts grabbed handfuls! So did long time members! One member said, “I need about 50 of these!” He wanted to give one to each of his friends and coworkers.[ii] We ran out of DVDs long before the members had taken all they wanted to give to friends.
This Christmas season, everyone will all have another chance!
How We Shared Joy to the World
Each person or family should watch Joy to the World first, then prayerfully seek the Spirit in determining how and with whom to share it.
As a sample, I usually shared it kind of like this, “I saw this DVD for the first time a few days ago and I loved it. It is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen about Jesus Christ’s birth and ministry. That’s why I wanted to share one with you. I know you believe in Christ and I think you will really like it. Merry Christmas!”
It was that simple! Almost everyone wanted one.
Since two parts in the movie are unique to Mormons (events in the Americas at Christ’s birth), and since I didn’t want people to feel I was trying to pull one over on them, I sometimes added, “you’ll notice a couple parts in the movie are unique to Mormons. Those parts are obvious, but most of the movie is about what we have in common. I think you’ll really like it!”
My companion and I prayed and fasted that people would watch it, that their hearts would be softened towards us; and that they would have questions for us. We prayed we’d run into them again. We asked what parts they liked most, and we loved to share our favorite parts!
With the help of your Father in Heaven, you too will find a great way to share it.
Getting the Members Excited about Giving Joy to the World
We offered DVDs to members in Gospel Essentials and Relief Society classes, and at one baptism. Here’s an example of how I introduced it:
“I don’t know if any of you have seen this DVD, Joy to the World. I saw it for the first time a few days ago and I was just amazed by how powerful and beautiful this movie is. It must be one of the most powerful movies the Church has ever made about the Savior, and it is sooo easy to give as a Christmas gift!”
I usually added, “I believe this DVD will soften people’s hearts towards us even if they don’t want to investigate the Church.” Then I share with them how I give it, and also why, to me, it is so powerful: “it’s presented through deeply moving images and music which are universal languages for people. And Christians already have deep feelings about the Savior.”
Then I asked the members to “watch the movie yourself first. If you watch it first, you’ll know who to give it to and how to give it.”
Our Ethiopian friends at the gas station enjoyed this movie. They even asked us for extra copies to share with their friends! Other friends told us they loved it so much they had watched it two or three times and were anxious to watch it again next Christmas! None of these people were LDS.
How ever we decide to share the Gospel this season, let’s do it prayerfully, with the Spirit, and with the support of our friends and families!
By Maureen Olson
[i] You can call the LDS Store at 1-800-537-5971 to order DVDs, or go online at www.store.lds.org. In the white “Search Catalog” rectangle on the top right hand corner of the homepage, type in “Joy to the World DVD” and it will come right up on screen. It’s still just $1.50 per copy!