COLUMN: ‘I am the Light of the World’

Published 7:31 pm Saturday, December 16, 2023

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By Dr. Brent Roberts
Guest Columnist

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”John 8:12

In this season of lights on trees, lights on lampposts, and lights in holiday parades, we turn to the light and the life of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

Following the perfect example of Jesus Christ and living the gospel He taught brings us joy throughout the year.  

In the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Savior taught:  “Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up–that which ye have seen me do” (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 18:24).

One who taught and testified constantly of the Savior was Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

Elder Ballard died on Nov. 12 at the age of 95. His was a life of service and dedication as a special witness of Christ, traveling the world for over 47 years and speaking to thousands of Latter-day Saints and others, always testifying boldly of Jesus Christ. He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara in 2018. Together they had seven children, 43 grandchildren, 105 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.  

Not long before he passed away, Elder Ballard witnessed of Jesus Christ as the light of life.  

“As the Light of the World, the Savior lights the path of our mortal journey with His example and teachings (see John 8:12). He lightens our load with His love and compassion (see Matthew 11:28-30).  He lightens our hearts with hope and healing through His Atonement (see Moroni 7:41).  And he enlightens our minds with ‘the Spirit of truth’ (Doctrine and Covenants 6:15; 11:13).”

Elder Ballard went on to share ways we can share the light of Christ’s love with others.  

He stated:  “Give selfless service, and you will feel His light in your heart.  Humbly pray for opportunities to share the gospel, and you will be guided to those ready to accept His light.  Love others in small and large ways, and you make this world better and brighter.”

There are so many ways to share our light with others at this season and throughout the year.  

  • Give your favorite book to the Virginia Children’s Book Festival 
  • Donate cans to FACES
  • Smile at someone
  • Call someone you miss
  • Leave a kind note for your mail carrier
  • Leave an uplifting comment on social media
  • Apologize to someone
  • Make a meal with a family member
  • Take a walk with a friend 
  • Pray for someone by name 

These are certainly small steps, but each time we follow the Golden Rule, we shine light into the darkness and make the world a brighter place.  

For more information and ideas about how you can share your light with others, visit  

Merry Christmas!

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Branch President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Assistant Provost for Academic Outreach and Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University.  He can be reached at