Church Launches ‘He Is the Gift’ Initiative to Share Christmas Message
Film & Video — December 1, 2014
Salt Lake City — An effort to share a message about Jesus Christ during the Christmas season will be underway throughout the month of December by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The month-long Christmas initiative focuses on Heavenly Father’s love as demonstrated in the sacred gift of Jesus Christ (see John 3:16). The “He Is the Gift” initiative is expected to reach millions during the month through social media, displays in visitors’ centers, member and missionary tools, online paid promotion and outdoor advertising in New York City’s Times Square.
“Christmas is a time of reflection on what we can become because of God’s sacred gift,” said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “As we discover the gift, we learn of the immeasurable love of God and our absolute need for a Savior. As we embrace the gift, we strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to become more like Him. As we share the gift, we follow in the Master’s footsteps, who invited all to hear His message.”
“This is the time of year when people are thinking about Christ, where we remember His birth and His life,” said Elder David F. Evans, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department. “We hope that in the commercialization of the Christmas season throughout the world that we can take just a step back and discover the gift in our own personal lives, embrace it more deeply and then take the opportunity to share what we know to be true with so many others.”
Elder Evans said the initiative is an opportunity for the Church to reach out to others in a unique way. “In today’s world, so many live behind gated communities or in high-up apartments that traditional ways of reaching them are not particularly effective. But here we have the opportunity to reach millions upon millions of people that missionaries and members perhaps never otherwise would.”
Daily social posting runs from November 28 to December 25. Those who share online content are encouraged to use the hashtag #ShareTheGift on their social media channels.
The Church launched a website, Christmas.mormon.org, that features a “He Is the Gift” video to remind viewers about the commercial and stressful nature of the Christmas season with a transition to what Christmas is truly about. Both the website and video are available in 20 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian, Cebuano, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai and Ukrainian.
The website also contains pages recounting the Christmas story, #ShareTheGift ideas and links to additional resources focused on Jesus Christ. In addition, there is a social media aggregator on the site to share member-generated content in several languages, including English, Spanish and Portuguese.
On December 7, the Church’s “He Is the Gift” initiative will be on the masthead of YouTube in seven countries with a potential audience of 207 million viewers. Those countries are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. The masthead will feature a shortened version of the video and an invitation to visit the website.
Missionaries have pass-along cards to promote the initiative during the month of December.
Fifteen Church visitors’ centers in the United States and overseas, including Temple Square, are offering guests “He Is the Gift” displays to enjoy during the Christmas season. Other locations include Hill Cumorah; Hyde Park Chapel; Idaho Falls; Independence, Missouri; Laie, Hawaii; London England Temple; Los Angeles; Mesa, Arizona; Mexico City; New Zealand; Oakland, California; Park City, Utah; Portland, Oregon; and St. George, Utah.
The “He Is the Gift” initiative was organized by the Church’s Missionary Department headquartered on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. A week-long campaign titled “Because of Him” at Easter generated worldwide interest. That YouTube video received more than 5 million views in the first week or so after it was posted.